Erin at $5 Dinners has a great post today on finding the best price on meat. She shares her “mental never pay more than list” on the prices per pound for various cuts of meat. Buying meat on sale is one way that she is able to create delicious and nutricious meals for her family for only $5.00! Her mental list is much more extensive than mine which is never pay more that $1.99 for boneless meat and $0.99 for bone-in meat. The exception being fish, which I have been known to plunk down a pretty penny on as a treat for my husband. Now I don’t usually pay $1.99 for boneless meat, I usually pay less, but this mental limit gives me wriggle room when I need a particular cut of meat, and can’t find it anywhere at its rock bottom price.
When I find a cut of meat that we eat at its rock bottom price or less if it has been reduced for quick sale (85% hamburger at $1.69, sirloin at $1.79, bl/sl chicken breasts at $1.69), I stock up if I have money in the budget and room in the freezer. I made room in the budget for stocking up on sale items, by originally devoting 10.00 a week (out of our $100.00 budget) to stocking up on the “loss leaders”. After a couple of weeks, I had enough items in my pantry that I didn’t have to devote as much of my list to needed items and could devote more to sale items. I am at a point now, where I can choose whether to just shop the sales or take a week off and declare a “Pantry Week”.
On Wednesdays, I go through all of the grocery store ads and make my shopping list. Most of the time it is obvious which sale price on meat is the best bargain: whole chickens $0.67 a pound, boneless pork loin $0.99 a pound, etc. However, there are times when the decision is not so simple. I used to struggle deciding which was a better deal: $1.69 lb. for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or $1.29 lb. for a whole chicken? Then I found the Cost Per Serving Calculator at Cheapcooking.com. You enter the type of meat, cut, and price per pound and it gives you the actual cost per serving. In the above case, the chicken breasts are .42 per serving, where the whole chicken is .52 per serving. Of course this does not take in to account that I can use the chicken bones to make stock, but it still gives me a good way to compare similar cuts of meat and decide which is the best buy for our family.
This post has been linked to Works For Me Wednesday.