Meat is a great source of protein and the cornerstone of many classic American entrees. However, meat of all types can be pretty expensive. For many households, meat takes up a significant portion of the grocery bill, so if you can find a way to save on meat, you'll really be doing your finances a favor. Aside from looking out for sales at the grocery store, here are three ways you can score great deals on meat.
1. Buy directly from a meat supplier
This idea hinges on cutting out the middleman. Your grocery store buys meat from a meat supplier at a low price, repackages it and perhaps trims it a little, and then sells it to you at a higher price. If you were to buy your meat directly from the supplier, you could get it for a lot cheaper than at the grocery store.
Identifying a meat supplier in your area won't be as hard as you think. Ask a few of your favorite restaurants where they get their meat. Then, ask them if the next time they order, they can order an extra box of a few items for you. They may ask you to pay a small fee for this, but in many cases, as long as you agree to show up, they will let you tack an order onto theirs. You may just have to call the supplier separately and make arrangements. Usually, you can pick up big cases of items like chicken breasts and boneless pork loins in this manner.
2. Talk to your local butcher shop
Another way to save on meat is to visit your local butcher shop often and get to know the butcher. Let them know you are looking for good deals. Ask what they are really trying to get rid of that week. They may have some roasts, steaks, ground beef, or other cuts that they need to sell soon before they go bad. You can purchase them at a discount and put them all in your fridge, where they will stay fresh for months.
3. Buy part of an animal from a farmer
If you have a local farmers market, visit and start talking to some of the farmers who are selling their goods. Ask if anyone in the area sells beef or pork by the half or quarter of an animal. If you pay upfront for the meat, you can get a good deal when it is all slaughtered and butchered. Some smaller butcher's shops may also be able to connect you with a farmer who will sell you a whole animal.