Not only has this summer heat wave messed up our dreams of looking fashionably cool, it’s done a number on our corn crops. So, when the corn crops are suffering, it impacts the price of everything, including our meat! About 40 percent of America’s corn is used as animal feed, our meat supply may see an increase in pricing! I have a guest post today from personal finance writer and my Twitter friend Andrea Woroch of AndreaWoroch.com about ways to save on meat. I know Meatless Monday is looking real good to me, right now! Enjoy!
How to Save Money on Meat As Corn Prices Soar
1. Buy Lean
You may be tempted by the pricetag of 70 or 80-percent lean meats, but all of your savings will end up at the bottom of the grill. The fat comprising the remaining 20 to 30 percent of that package will render during cooking, making the lean-meat purchase a better deal in the long run. Plus, lean meat is the healthier choice — bonus!
2. Avoid Pre-cut
Cubed meats and pre-made patties are convenient, but ultimately a waste of money. If you’re guilty of purchasing these pre-made provisions, cease and desist to realize immediate savings. Additionally, grind your chuck at home or ask the butcher to do it for you. You’ll get the same ground meat for much less, plus it seems fresher!
3. Buy in Bulk
If you consume a lot of meat, buying in bulk is a no-brainer way to keep costs down. Consider going in on a side of beef with a few other families to score healthier, high-quality meat for less. You’ll need storage space, but you’ll pay the same price for tenderloin as ground beef (on average between $3 and $5 per pound).
4. Look for Markdowns
Buying meat on clearance may seem a bit daunting, but ultimately you can find good deals on meat nearing its expiration. These meats are usually labeled “Manager’s Markdowns” or have bright stickers noting their “best by” dates. Additionally, you can find a great deal on FreeShipping.org for Omaha Steaks, who is currently offering up to 62-percent off select gourmet products, plus four free burgers and franks through Sept. 30.
5. Try “Meatless Monday”
A trend among mom bloggers, “Meatless Monday” promotes healthier, cheaper meals sans America’s go-to protein. If you and your family are nightly meat-eaters, consider cutting the costly ingredient once per week.
6. Don’t Be Fooled
If you buy organic meat, you’re already paying premium prices for pork, beef and poultry. However, you should be careful of confusing the terms “natural” and “hormone-free” for organic. While these are good alternatives to commercial meats, only the certified seal from the USDA proves meat is organic.
7. Rotisserie for Rush Meals
Okay, I concede; you don’t have time every night to thaw pre-cut meat or whip up a meat-based meal from scratch. If you’re in a hurry, avoid the fast food joint in favor of pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Costco. The product is so popular it has its own Facebook profile. These chickens are a great value, plus you can retain leftovers to use in salads or sandwiches the next day.
8. Add Healthy Fillers
The meat industry suffered a blow earlier this year when “pink slime” was revealed as an ingredient in most packaged ground meat. While I don’t advocate adding anything laced with ammonium hydroxide to your ground chuck, you can use oatmeal and bread crumbs. Doing so allows you to purchase and consume smaller amounts of meat without noticing a difference in portion size.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, Kiplinger Personal Finance, and CNNMoney.