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12 Tips To Find The Cheapest Meat

With inflation higher than it’s been in decades, you might be searching for tips to find the cheapest meat and other groceries. 

This past 12 months alone have seen grocery prices rising nearly 12 percent. Nearly everyone is working to find a way to cope with rising costs. 

Luckily, there are ways you can spend less on your grocery bill and on meat costs in particular. 

Ways to Find Cheaper Meat

The tips we share here can help you find the cheapest meat on the market. Use several of the tips as you work to slash your grocery budget while still eating the foods you love.

1. Shop Store Sales

grocery store sales

All stores have sales on meat during different times of the year. If you keep an eye on weekly flyers and have an idea of when meats go on sale you can save hundreds of dollars per year on meats.

For instance:

  • Ham goes on sale around holidays such as Easter
  • Turkey goes on sale near Thanksgiving
  • Hamburgers and hot dogs go on sale during the summer BBQ season
  • Lunch meat will often go on sale in August or September in preparation for back-to-school

Conversely, some items will be priced higher during high-demand times too. So keep an eye on “normal” meat prices and know when a sale really is a sale. 

Bonus tip: When you find those good sales, be sure to stock up and store in an upright or chest freezer with a zero temperature option. 

Hint: Scan your receipts and save even more money on groceries. 

2. Know When to Shop

Knowing when to shop can save you loads of money on meat. How? Because grocery store butchers always come in in the morning and slash prices on meats that are close to the “freeze by” date.

The meats that are getting close to “use by or freeze by” dates are often discounted as much as 20% or more. 

However, there’s a trick to finding these discounted items: You typically have to get to the grocery stores in the morning. 

Since discounted meats are put out first thing in the morning (or sometimes the night before after closing), the early bird shoppers have the most chance of getting the deals. 

So think about going early if you want to find those discounted prices. You can use the sale meat you find right away, before the expiration date.

Or you can freeze the meat you buy so you can use it whenever you need it. 

3. Join a Warehouse Club

Warehouse club memberships can be a great way to find the cheapest meat. Because they buy and sell in bulk, clubs such as Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club can sell meat for much cheaper than a typical grocery store. 

And depending on how much food and other items you buy, you can easily earn back the annual fee charged by most warehouse clubs.

 For instance, Walmart’s current price on 93/7 ground beef is $5.28 per pound while Sam’s Club offers a similar 88/12 ground beef at $3.96 per pound.

And while the Sam’s Club beef has a bit more fat, you might find the cost savings well worth it. 

Bonus: Warehouse clubs will often have sales on meat as well, helping you save even more. 

Don’t think you can use all of the meat when you buy bulk at a warehouse club? Split the meat (and the cost) with a family member or friend. 

You’ll both save money on your grocery bills and not have so much meat that it’ll get freezer burnt before you have a chance to use it.

4. Buy From a Local Farmer

Another great way to save money on meat is to buy it from a local farmer. If you live in an area where farms are within an hour’s drive or so, you might save enough money that it’s worth the trip.

I routinely buy beef from a local farmer where I live in the Midwest. And I often save a good 20% over grocery store prices. 

Now, the caution here is that you often need to buy a LOT of meat when buying from a local farmer. 

For instance, you’ll need to buy a whole pig or half a cow (already processed, of course). This is where teaming up with friends and family can really benefit. 

As an example, you could go in with three friends and each of you could pay for a quarter of the cost of the whole cow. 

You’ll have enough meat to last you for months, and save hundreds of dollars in the process. 

5. Know Which Grocery Stores are Cheapest

Sales are great, but sometimes you can find that the cheapest grocery store’s regular prices will beat a costlier store’s sale prices every time. 

This is why it’s so important to know which grocery stores near you are the cheapest. One other thing to consider is that some grocery stores might have lower prices on some items while others will have lower prices on others.

In my city, Aldi has the cheapest produce prices and snack food prices. So I’ll often go to Aldi and get produce and snack foods. 

Then I’ll head across the street to Walmart and do the rest of my shopping. Of course, this might not be cost effective if two stores are several miles apart. 

But if you can start to get to know what stores charge on the items you buy most, you can get an idea of where you’ll find the most savings on items such as beef, chicken and pork.

6. Use Cheaper Cuts

meat at grocery store

Another one of my favorite tips for finding the cheapest meat is using cheaper cuts. For example, ground beef is often cheaper than ground beef chuck.

This is because ground chuck is made with a different part of the cow near the cow’s shoulders. Ground beef is made from various parts of the cow.

Ground chuck tends to be a bit more cohesive and a bit more flavorful due to a higher fat content. 

But the difference isn’t terribly noticeable, especially when making meals that call for cooked and chopped ground beef, such as sloppy joes. 

A second example is to choose a sirloin steak over a pricier cut such as a New York Strip. While the sirloin is a bit tougher, it’s still a nice cut of steak. 

And you can always save the pricier cuts for special occasions such as holidays, birthdays or anniversaries. 

The budget savings you’ll see by choosing cheaper cuts for most of your meals will allow some flexibility in your finances for special occasion splurges. 

7. Buy in Bulk

Bulk buying almost always results in money savings and cheaper per-pound prices. Buy your meat in bulk and you can expect to save up to 15% or more per pound.

This is true whether you’re buying beef, chicken or pork. You can buy in bulk from a number of places including regular grocery stores, warehouse clubs or farmers.

Go in on bulk purchases with family and friends to help ease the cost of buying so much meat at one time. 

Talk together about what each of you needs and how much you need. As an example, you might not use as many chicken breasts as your friend. 

And that’s okay. Buy in bulk, they can take 75% of the meat and you can take 25%. Get creative and shop according to each person’s needs.

Store in a chest freezer at zero temperatures for maximum longevity. 

8. Think Ahead

Thinking ahead is another way to save money on meat. For instance, you might not need ground beef when it goes on sale in March. 

That being said, could you freeze it and use it for your annual Fourth of July BBQ? Or buy ahead to plan for an upcoming party, such as a graduation party or birthday party? 

As you browse meat sales, start thinking about the year ahead. What will you serve for upcoming gatherings you host or attend? 

Do you have the freezer space to buy and store it a few months in advance? If so, you could see big money savings on grocery purchases in the future. 

Combine sale prices with bulk purchases and watch your savings rate soar. 

9. Work at a Grocery Market

Working at a grocery market is another way to save big on meat purchases. Almost all grocery stores give employee discounts on meat purchases. 

I have a friend who works at a local butcher shop in our town. He gets a 15% discount on every meat purchase he makes. 

That means that, instead of paying, for example, $10 a pound for sirloin steaks he pays $8.50 a pound. Those types of savings can add up big time, especially if you have a family to feed.

And the bonus is that you’ll likely save on everything the store sells. So check employment listings at grocery stores or meat shops near you.

Put in a few hours a week and save money on every meat purchase you make. 

10. Buy From a Wholesaler

Meat wholesalers often sell meat to smaller grocers. However, many meat wholesalers will allow the public to walk in off the street and buy as well. 

That means you can often get the same price on meats such as chicken, pork and beef that grocers will pay. 

Be sure to call ahead to find out hours and more before visiting a meat wholesaler. This is important because some meat wholesalers have limited hours. 

You’ll also want to check out other facts such as what payment types are accepted. Doing so is crucial because some meat wholesalers only accept cash or checks.

Others might charge a fee for using credit cards. 

11. Use Coupon Apps

grocery store app

Using coupon apps is another tip to find the cheapest meat. The best coupon apps help you save money at every store. 

Some coupon apps offer savings on specific brands, some on specific products and others offer savings on your grocery trip as a whole. 

Cash back shopping sites such as Ibotta are great for this purpose. Use the link we’ve included above to find the best coupon apps for your shopping habits.

Bonus hint: Check out this article on the best coupon websites for even more money saving connections. 

12. Join Your Grocery Store’s Rewards Program

Nearly every grocery store has a rewards program. These rewards programs dish out rewards varying from monetary rewards to discounts on meat and other grocery items. 

Visit the service counter at the grocery stores and big box stores you frequent most often. Learn the details of each store’s rewards program.

Discover which rewards programs are best for you and take advantage of each program. Note that some rewards programs might also offer discounts that aren’t directly related to meat. 

So, a store that gives rewards of gas discounts may not save you money directly on meat. However, it will save you money because you’ll spend less on gasoline costs.

Don’t discount a rewards program if it doesn’t save you money directly on meat. Take the savings and count them as money saved, no matter where they occur. 

Summary

There are plenty of tips to find the cheapest meat and save money on groceries. Use some or all of the tips here to save as much money as possible. 

Combine tips and work with family and friends to buy in bulk, use warehouse stores or visit wholesalers to divide and conquer. Store in chest freezers for longer term storage and buy ahead to plan for future gatherings.

12 tips to find cheapest meat

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