Seven Cuts of Meat That Will Save You Money

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Saving money on meat is an ongoing challenge. The coupons for fresh meat are few and far between. Even meats marked “on sale” are expensive. However, there are some tricks to getting high quality meats for less!

The USDA has an ongoing data research study that compares the costs of meat pound per pound. Along with that data, we’ve conducted our own investigation to find out what cuts of meat are less expensive but still full of flavor. We’ve learned that with a little creativity, adding meat to your dinner table doesn’t have to be a budget buster!

Here are 7 Cheap(er) Cuts of Meat to Save Money, yet Keep ALL the Flavor:

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Chicken – Keep the Bones Cheap Meat

1. Use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of boneless skinless breast cuts: The thighs and drumsticks are full of flavor and tend to maintain their moisture better than white meat during the cooking process. They are great in slow cooker or oven recipes as well as on the grill, and prices generally run in the range of 40% less than boneless, skinless breast cuts. If you really want the white meat, buy the whole chicken and butcher it yourself. Or just cook it whole! I cook one whole chicken in my crock pot. Easy and delicious.

Some recipes to try:

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Beef Choice Cuts Cheap Meat

2. Steak – Choose beef sirloin instead of New York strip or rib-eye: Sirloin is an often overlooked cut of beef because it contains less fat and can be dry, but when marinated well and not overcooked (grilling a couple minutes on each side should be about right) it is delicious. You can save around 30% compared to the cost of other cuts by using sirloin. Another money saving suggestion here is to use less of it. Instead of serving everyone a large cut of meat, try cutting it up and making steak & veggie kebabs.

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3. Roast – Buy bottom-round instead of eye-of-round: This is another good substitution that will save you around 10-20% but will still be big on flavor. Marinating it well will help tenderize it.  This cut of meat cooks up quickly, but is ideal for slow cooker or pressure cooker recipes, as these environments will keep it most moist.

Some recipes to try:

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4. Ground beef & meatballs – Use ground turkey or turkey meatballs instead of beef:
Whoever thought that $4.99 or $5.99 a pound would be called a “good price” for hamburger meat? Seriously? Long gone are the days of $2 a pound ground beef, so yes, now we have to get creative even with that. Ground turkey runs around 20% less than the cost of ground beef, so either substitute turkey when possible or mix it in and using half & half.  Save the remainder of both in freezer bags for another meal later.

The benefits of using turkey over beef are well reported, namely much lower fat content, it cooks up well, is cheaper and an overall healthier choice! We love our recipes that call for meatballs. Know those expensive ones in the store that are angus beef and run about $8 a bag? Great in recipes, right? Challenge yourself to pay half the price for a bag of turkey meatballs to substitute in your favorite casserole or meatball recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised at the result! When we brown the turkey meatballs first, my kids can’t even tell the difference!

Some recipes to try:

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Pork

5. Pork chops – Purchase bone-in pork rib chops instead of pork loin chops: Go for the pork rib chops with the bone (not the bone that looks like a “T” but the other one) because it has the tender and flavorful loin meat attached. Buying bone-in will save you about 20% compared to boneless with the same great flavor. A personal favorite is marinated with Dale’s Steak Seasoning and lemon pepper ~ so good grilled!

Fish and Seafood

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6. Fish – Use whiting or pollock instead of tuna, salmon or other more expensive types of fish: You can save about 50% with this choice, and the price gets even sweeter when you buy it in bulk frozen instead of out of the “fresh” case (which in most supermarkets is the same fish you would get out of the freezer case but thawed for you).

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7. Seafood – Buy it from the grocery store instead of the fresh market: Unless you live right on the coast where the fish is brought in daily, most fresh seafood is frozen then thawed at market for your “viewing pleasure” ~ but this comes at a cost. You’ll pay about 20-25% less buying frozen from the grocery store for fish such as talapia, catfish, mahi-mahi and cod than when buying from fresh markets.

Some recipes to try:

For more information see our other tips to help feed your family meat for less.

Want to see what kind of meat is on sale this week at your store?  Check out our store coupon matchups every week and use these along with the above to get meat on your dinner table for less!

Know of some other less expensive cuts of meat to substitute for better savings?
Post your comments below! We’d love to hear your ideas too!

~ Happy Meat Saving!

You may also enjoy reading:

Easy Ways to Save Money on MEATSave-Money-Meat

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