1. Lunch meats: Instead of automatically heading to the deli counter, check out the packaged deli choices. They are often made by the same company as the meat at the deli counter, but are much more likely to be cheaper and have coupons. For healthier options at either location, opt for meat that’s low on preservatives and without added nitrates and fillers.
2. Doctor it up: Consider buying less expensive cuts of meat, then tenderizing, marinating or slow cooking them. You'll often get the same great flavor as the more expensive cuts at a fraction of the cost. Also, shaping your own hamburger patties or thin cutting steak by hand will save you from having to pay for someone else to do the work.
3. Sales: Shopping your store's large meat sales can be a great way to stock up when the price is krazy low! Divide the cost with neighbors or freeze for the future. Boneless skinless chicken breast, pork loin chops, pork roasts, bacon, smoked sausage and ground sausage are a great deal at $1.99/lb or under while beef chuck roasts and extra lean ground beef (90%+) are at $2.99/lb or less.
4. Branch out: Check out local butcher shops or farms for great deals on fresh meat. Sometimes their prices are lower than bargain grocery stores.
5. Whole: When individual specialty cuts are too expensive, consider buying uncut portions. Deboning a chicken or slicing up a side of beef can be fairly easy once you have the know how. Ask your local butcher to show you the ropes, or check out instructional YouTube videos. For buys like whole fish, the butcher will gladly do the fillet work for you (and usually for free!).
6. Divide & Conquer: Family-size packages are often cheaper per pound than their small counterparts. Invest in a bigger package, then divide it up into portions when you get home. You can either cook it first then freeze, or freeze it raw. Make sure to seal well in freezer bags to stave off frostbite.
7. Stretch it out: When making tacos or soup, try adding legumes like lentils, split peas or beans. Other great alternatives include TVP (textured vegetable protein—a dehydrated soy flour) in chili, or oatmeal, rice, and bread crumbs in meatloaf.
8. Catalinas: Use Catalinas you've received on past purchases to buy things that you don't normally have coupons for, like meat and produce.
9. Leftovers: If your family doesn't finish a roasted chicken or turkey in one sitting, take the rest of the meat off the bone and use it for leftovers (soups, casseroles, sandwiches). Other great versatile meat leftovers include beef roast (Stroganoff, Shepherd's pie, hash, stew), pork (pork fried rice, quesadillas, stir fry) and ham (chef salad, omelets).
10. Location: Check out other locations in the store for comparison. If you're looking for fish, check out canned, smoked or the frozen section. For frozen fish, look for boneless skinless fillets in individually vacuum-sealed packages (usually in larger bags ranging from 2.5–4 lbs). It's also good to have items like canned meat and jerky on hand in case of emergencies.
11. Relax: While some meat products occasionally have coupons, remember that these items are something that you won't likely get for 90 percent off every time, like deodorant or toothpaste. It's okay to spend money on produce and meats! When we save in other areas (like at the drugstore), this brings our overall bill down. Aim to save 50–90 percent on your total bill, which includes food and non-food items.