Looking to cut expensive meat costs? These tips can help you save big at the grocery store.

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It’s bad enough that you cringe every time you have to fill your gas tank. Nowadays, grocery costs are equally cringe-worthy, especially when it comes to buying meat.

For example, depending on the cut and type, average beef prices in U.S. urban areas increased by up to 12 percent from June 2021 to June 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average chicken prices increased by as much as 36 percent, and pork prices shot up by around 11 percent.

Those price jumps can add up to a hefty grocery bill, especially since the prices of other foods have also increased. However, with a little planning, you can save a lot of money on meat.

Here are six ways to save money when buying meat.

1. Read grocery store circulars

If you automatically toss all those grocery store circulars you get in the mail in the trash or recycling bin, it’s time to change your ways. By not looking over grocery store ads to see what’s on sale, you’re missing out on savings on meat and many other grocery items.

Don’t just read the circular for your usual grocery store, either. Another grocer down the street may have a better deal on chicken, beef, pork chops or bacon that week.

Find out: 9 Ways to Fight Rising Prices on Groceries

2. Buy part of a pig or cow from the butcher

Want to pay more upfront for big savings over time? Call a local butcher that sells half a hog or one-quarter of a cow to find out the price. Then freeze the meat — 70 to 80 pounds final weight for a half hog and around 100 pounds for one-quarter of a cow — to last for months.

Cost varies, depending on where you live, but the price range for a half hog generally starts at around $3  to $6 a pound. One-quarter cow prices start at around $5 per pound but can be much higher in certain areas of the country. The final weight is typically about 60 percent less than the “hanging weight” before processing.

If you pay $4 per pound for half a pig at 70 pounds, the cost would be $280. If you pay $6 per pound for a quarter cow, the cost would be around $1,100. But keep in mind that you’ll get far more variety on cuts of meat that could potentially save hundreds of dollars later.

Compare prices at local butchers to find out how much you can save. The upfront cost may outweigh what you’d spend over several months. Meanwhile, you can cut expensive meat costs from your weekly grocery budget.

Find out: 9 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

3. Shop discount grocery stores

If you haven’t shopped much at Aldi, Save-A-Lot or other discount grocery chains, don’t wrongly assume most of their products are low quality. In fact, the opposite is often true.

Make a grocery list and head to a discount grocery store next time. Before you go, check meat prices at regular grocery stores. That way, you’ll know if you’re getting a good deal at the discount grocer.

Find out: How to Save Money on Food

4. Buy large quantities and freeze for later

You may get a better price on chicken, pork, beef and other meats when you buy a large-quantity package or bag of frozen meat. Use what you need for a meal and freeze the rest for future meals.

Find out: How Doing a Weekly Food Prep Can Save Money on Dining Out

5. Plan purchases around more than one meal

When you buy meat, try to use it for more than one meal to get the most from your meat purchases. For example, if you have chicken one night, use leftovers for soup, chicken salad, sandwiches or stir-fry later in the week.

Find out: 11 Easy Foods You can Take to Work to Save Money on Lunch

6. Follow your grocery store on social media

Follow your local grocery stores on Facebook or other social media platforms. That way, you’ll stay on top of all kinds of grocery deals, including sales on meat and last-minute one-day sales.

If your grocery store serves hot meals from the deli or kitchen, you may also find out about dinners or lunch daily special that include meat.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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