Save Money on Meat: Protein Penny-Pinching Tips

Shop and cook smart to eat high-quality protein. Learn how to save money on meat with these tips.

| January/February 2012

  • "Almost Meatless" by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond
  • "The Flexitarian Table" by Peter Berley
  • "Good Meat" by Deborah Krasner
  • These days eating well is more complicated than in the past. Choosing quality meat over quantity is better for your wallet and your health.
  • "Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian" by Rose Elliot
  • "The Vegetarian Slow Cooker" by Judith Finlayson

Meat is among the most expensive items on many grocery lists, especially if it’s healthy meat from animals that were treated with respect. But you can save money on meat without compromising the quality in your protein choices. The easiest strategies are to incorporate delicious, well-rounded meatless meals into your diet, reducing the quantity of meat so you can afford high-quality, healthy options; and to choose and use less-expensive cuts of meat without skimping on flavor or quality.

Shop Wisely

Cut Quantity, Not Quality. Reducing our consumption allows us to buy cuts from animals raised in ways that actually make their meat better for us. Grass-fed beef and eggs, for example, contain more heart-healthy fats and essential vitamins than their factory-grown counterparts. Sometimes opting for less-expensive, non-meat protein such as legumes, eggs and whole grains helps free our dietary budgets for high-quality meat. 

Cut Cost, Not Quality. Learn to turn less-expensive cuts of grass-fed meat (such as short ribs, butt and shoulders) into fabulous dishes. For example, slow-roasted pork butt can become shredded pork suitable for tacos, sandwiches, stir-fries and potstickers. Check out "Tips for Cooking Inexpensive Cuts of Pastured Meat"

Buy Whole. Retailers and manufacturers charge for the time they spend breaking down meat, so you can save money on meat by buying less broken-down portions. Buy whole chickens and cut them up yourself to end up with breasts to grill, thighs to braise, legs and wings to fry, livers to transform into pâté, and plenty of bits to cook down into stock. For a good online tutorial for breaking down a full chicken, visit Serious Eats and search “break down a chicken.”

Share The Wealth. For large animals, you can really save money on meat by purchasing a quarter or half animal, and often the butcher will cut it up for you. Many farmers sell large quantities directly, and at a deeply discounted price, and “meat shares” in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are increasingly common. Visit the Eatwild website to find grass-fed meat producers in your area and Local Harvest to find CSAs to join. Check with neighbors or coworkers, your local farmer’s market or on Craigslist to connect with folks who might want to split a large purchase with you.

Strategize Savings. If you invest in a small, energy-efficient chest freezer, you’ll be able to stockpile pricey meats when you spot a sale. Free-range chickens and lambs are usually most affordable in spring, while cuts of beef and pork often see their best price points in fall and winter. You may find other seasonal deals, too, such as post-Thanksgiving turkeys, post-Christmas ducks or post-Easter hams. 



October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me