Your Grocery Budget: Protein
The most expensive part of a balanced meal is generally the protein, such as meat, poultry and fish. Therefore, this is a great place to start when thinking about trimming down your grocery bill.
Like I said in the general tips post, cutting down portion sizes is a very effective way to decrease both your grocery bill and your waistline. Many people pull out four chicken breasts when feeding their family of four, however one chicken breast can actually be up to 2-3 servings sizes! Simply cooking and eating less will stretch your dollar much farther. If you’re still feeling hungry while getting used to these smaller portions, load up your plate with non-starchy vegetables as they are lower in cost and calories.
Think about utilizing more vegetarian sources of protein as they are generally, much less expensive. Beans, eggs, peanut butter, nuts and seeds are typically very affordable. Try a meatless dinner once a week to offset your protein costs.
Buy in Bulk
Generally speaking, buying in bulk can save you money. In fact, you can save up to 30% or more* just by buying the same meat product in a larger quantity. Look at the price per pound printed on the label to compare. Buy some freezer bags or paper and stock up!
Buy Reduced Price
When the sell by date is approaching, meats are sometimes marked down. Often stores will reduce meat prices a certain day of the week- learn when this is and get in there before everyone else does!
Don’t Pay for Convenience
I mention a lot in the Food Shopping blog posts that many grocery stores now carry more pre-prepared convenience foods like washed and sliced vegetables, pre-portioned fruits, etc. In terms of meat, you can find marinated and seasoned meats, pre-made hamburger patties and a ton of options in the freezer section. If you’re looking to save time rather than money, these are great options. However, these conveniences are going to cost you. If you’re buying breaded and/or pre-cooked items from the freezer section, not only is the price higher, the sodium content will be as well. Buy meats and marinate them yourself. Buy ground beef and form them into your own patties. These habits can save you a ton of cash in the long run.
If you’re going the bean route, try buying dried rather than canned. It is a time commitment as you’ll have to soak and cook the beans, but according to The Bean Institute, dried are about a third to a half of the price of canned beans.
Buy a whole cow, make friends with a hunter, buy wholesale, or go to a meat raffle. Consider going in with a friend or neighbor to buy more meat in bulk. Grind you own meat (or have your butcher do it for you). The possibilities are really endless here.
*when comparing prices at Wegmans.com in March 2018