A recent column about saving money on meat struck a chord with many readers. Admittedly, getting coupon deals on meats is a little more difficult, as meat coupons aren’t always easy to find. If you’re purchasing brand-name meats, such as Hormel, Perdue or Butterball, you’ll find coupons available for these products fairly often. But what about saving on ground beef or deli cold cuts? Again, while you may find these coupons at times, more often, you’ll be playing the best-price game of buying these items when their sale prices take a dip. I’m always looking at the per-pound price and trying to stay as close to my personal benchmarks as possible – for me, that’s under $2 per pound for chicken and pork, and under $3 per pound. for beef.
Many readers responded with their own great tips. Here are few of the best:
I read your coupon column every Sunday and enjoy the helpful tips. I have a few ideas for you and your readers. One tip is shopping at the meat market. I go to the local family-owned meat market every 5 to 6 weeks and load up on the specials. I spend the next two days cooking and freezing all types of meals.
I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put several pounds into the slow cooker and let it cook for 4-5 hours on high. This chicken I “pull apart” and use for barbecue chicken sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, tacos and salads. I also bake some of the chicken and cut it into pieces to make chicken sauce to put over pasta.
The next day I cook the ground beef that I buy in large family packs, which is always so much cheaper.
I make hamburger patties, grill them, let them cool and freeze them. I also brown one-pound portions of ground beef and place them in freezer bags. They’re ready to go for spaghetti sauce, tacos, Hamburger Helper and other ground beef meals. I also make a meatloaf for dinner and then slice up the rest of the loaf and freeze that for individual meals. I cook a roast, with vegetables and potatoes, in the slow cooker, and after it is cooled, I cut it up and put it in containers to freeze.
So, one trip to the meat market saves me money. Then two days of cooking provides me with great meals for 5 weeks. — Barb R.
I am not into clipping coupons. I did, however, discover a saving scheme that fits my lunch pattern. I regularly buy fresh mini rolls at a local Italian grocer.
I have wondered for a long time what happens to the meat that is pre-sliced at the deli counter and is still there at the end of the day. Recently, I noticed they sell ready-made mini-subs that are made up with five or six kinds of meat.
I bought a couple for $2.49 each.
When I unpacked them, I found there was way too much meat for me to eat at one time! There was enough in each one for three sandwiches. I now buy five mini rolls ($3 total) and two mini-subs each week and divide up the meat to have enough for seven lunches at a cost of less than $8. That’s less than a dollar a day, and it’s good!”
Smart Living Tip: Stocking up on meats when they’re on sale, then spending a day cooking ahead – browning and roasting meat, or using slow cookers – is a great way to take advantage of meat sales and reduce your food preparation time later. (We’ve all had evenings where it would have been more convenient to heat up a pre-made meal.) And don’t overlook unconventional or unexpected ways to save on pre-cut, pre-packaged, clearance and closeout meats.
Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor and mother of three.