Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thrifty Tip Thursday - Buying meat in bulk

I don't know how often I'll do a "Thrifty Thursday", as thriftiness is something I'm not so hot at. I mean, I have my thrifty ways (Most of my wardrobe is from ROSS, I have no shame buying stuff secondhand), but I could be a whole lot more frugal. Then again, Frugality is its own weird cult online sometimes, so I don't know how much more frugal I want to get. Regardless, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that work well for me.

One thing that I like to do is to buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Now, if I were REALLY hardcore about it (and had a freezer that could handle it - damn you, apartment living!), I'd go to Costco once every two months and stock up, wrap up, and only have to buy my meat then. As it is, though, I can actually stock up for about a month at my local grocery store (SaveMart is the one we frequent). I buy the "Max Packs" of what we like to eat, or if what we like is on sale. My usual purchases are boneless chicken breasts/thighs, boneless pork chops (The Hubs has a weird thing against bones in meat O__o), and ground turkey and turkey italian sausages when on sale.

Now see, this saves money but it's still not frugal because I would spend less if I bought the bone-in versions or beef/pork versions of the stuff I buy. BUT it still saves me a decent amount. I also spread out the ground turkey a little farther by doing the following.

See, ground turkey (for whatever weird reason) is sold in 20 oz packs. I don't understand it, but I'll still buy it. I used to use an entire 20 oz pack in a recipe, which was usually just a little too much, and seemed wasteful. Now, I automatically break them in half. (Or, if I buy a bigger pack that has 32 oz, I'll break it into fours). Most recipes don't need much alteration to use the half-amount, and it stretches the meat a little further. (I tend to use the ground meat for burgers, hamburger-helper style skillet meals, taco meat, etc.). To freeze it in the individual portions, here's what I do:
Lay out some plastic wrap (and if you have a way to keep it from sticking to itself, PLEASE SHARE OMG IT DRIVES ME NUTS
Plop the meat down (I cut it with a knife, eyeballing it -a scale would probably be more efficient, but, MEH.)

Wrap the top and bottom around it like you're wrapping a gift (Give the Gift of MEAT - sounds like some good copy for Sterling Cooper, eh? ;D)

Wrap the sides around it - I usually wrap the left in front, and the right in back. But I'm weird.

Throw them all in a big ol' ziploc bag to hold them! Defrost as needed. 

I wrap the meat in plastic wrap to help prevent freezer burn a little more. As for the other bulk purchases, I actually pre-portion those out, too. Usually two chops, breasts, or sausages per sandwich sealable bag. Not the greenest option, I realize, but it's quick to do right after a grocery store trip. My mom uses freezer paper (which I need to do) and labels them.  But she also has a separate freezer and goes to Costco, so neh. ;p I pre-portion so I don't need to cook more than necessary (which might tempt me to eat more than necessary!).

Anyway, that's one of my little tricks I do to be a LITTLE more economically savvy. What do you guys do to save a little money on what you like to cook with?

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