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Money-Saving Habit #2 Buy Meat in Bulk & Cook Ahead

There are many ways to save money on groceries and I'll cover several of them during this Money-Saving Habits for 2009 series. If you're new to the frugality mindset, however, before you dive into couponing and non-couponing strategies, I recommend you make an effort to save money on one of the most expensive things you're eating: meat. Here's how you can save big:

  1. By purchasing chicken, pork, and ground beef in bulk packages when they're at their lowest prices (known by tracking sales at your local stores or just checking blogs like this one), you lock in the low price for the meat you buy. The down side? Now you have to deal with all that raw meat. I've posted several tutorials on how to process ground beef and chicken breasts when purchasing 10 pounds at once. I have found that 10 lbs. is the amount I can handle; more than that takes too long for me, and it's usually enough to get my family through until the next sale comes around. In my area (Northern Virginia), the cheapest I have seen 93% lean ground beef if $1.99/lb, and the cheapest boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.69/lb. The sale cycle tends to run every 6-8 weeks, so I buy enough to last us until the next sale comes up.
  2. Besides repackaging the meat into smaller portions and freezing it, you can also prepare some of it–by cooking and freezing it–to save yourself time on a busy weeknight. This encourages you to eat at home and avoid expensive takeout or restaurant meals. By defrosting the pre-cooked meat/chicken the night before, you can add it to a crockpot meal or make a quick meal like tacos in just minutes. For quick recipe ideas, look at the end of each of my Cook Once, Eat 10 Times articles.

Learn other ways to save money by reading the other articles in the 20 Money-Saving Habits for 2009 series.


Wednesday 7th of January 2009

Great tips...thanks!When I buy boneless chicken breasts in bulk, I chop some of the raw chicken up and place in smaller freezer bags. That way, it is ready to go if I want to make a stir-fry or soup, and it defrosts very quickly too!