Savings Tip: Buy Meat in Bulk
If you’re big on saving money, you probably already buy things in bulk. Paper goods and laundry detergent are the most popular items to buy in bulk because they don’t go bad, or at least take a VERY long time to do so.
One thing that you may not be buying in bulk (I know it took me way too long to start) is meat! After all, it’s the most expensive part of most families’ grocery bills, so why wouldn’t we save as much as possible on it? Even a few cents per pound can really add up over time.
When I first started grocery shopping, I would buy meat in 1 pound packages because that is generally the amount I would need for our meals that week. I avoided the larger packages because few things pain me more in life than throwing away food because we couldn’t use it before it went bad.
Honestly, I just assumed those larger packs were meant for families with lots of kids or the occasional party-sized meal. It didn’t occur to me that I could separate the large packages of meat into smaller portions and freeze what I wasn’t going to use right away. I soon learned that buying the larger package could save me a lot of money!
When buying meat in bulk, I try to set aside time after my grocery run to portion and freeze it right away. The last thing I want to do is forget that it’s in the back of my fridge and have to throw it out because I didn’t freeze it in time.
And, bulk meats are often featured in grocery stores’ weekly ads. If you see a special for a type of meat that you’re likely to use in the future, I’d say snag it and freeze it. You don’t have to have it on the menu for the week to take advantage of a great deal! Just make sure you have enough freezer space and storage bags for it.
Some tips for portioning and freezing meat:
- Portion them into sizes that you will be able to use all at once — avoid thawing and refreezing meat
- For ground meats, the flatter the shape you store them in, the faster they will thaw
- Label each portion of meat with the type and amount of meat, as well as the date it was frozen
- Use reusable freezer-safe bags that are better for the environment and your wallet
- Set up your bags or containers so that you don’t have to touch the outside of them much or at all once you start handling the raw meat
- If you have them, use food-safe gloves to avoid touching the raw meat directly
- Pay attention to anything that gets touched by the meat or residual liquids and disinfect them when you’re done
Real life example:
I recently bought a 5-lb. package of ground chuck at $1.49 per pound, so the entire 5 pounds cost me $7.45. If I were to buy five 1-lb. packages at $1.99 per pound, I would pay $9.95 for 5 pounds. By buying in bulk I saved $2.50 on 5 pounds of meat. It took – no kidding – 3 minutes for me to portion and freeze 5 pounds of chuck. Translation: 3 minutes to save $2.50, or $50 per hour! Now, obviously I’m not going to separate meat for an hour, but you get the picture. Little money saving efforts like these really do add up.
Hopefully this will help someone to save a little money on groceries this week, and a lot of money over time!
What are your favorite meats or groceries to buy in bulk? Do you have any creative ways for storing or using up large quantities of meat?