Save money on ground beef by buying in bulk, portioning the hamburger into smaller amounts, and freezing for later use. For more savings, buy when it’s on sale!
Most of my money-saving tricks come from my parents. And this idea to save money on ground beef is no exception. While we were growing up, my parents always kept an eye on when meat would go on sale. And when it did, we would stock up and freeze it for later use.
So many people are on a tight budget, and every dollar saved counts! So, if you want to learn how to save money on ground beef too, keep reading on!
As a disclaimer, I want you to know this process can be messy, and it can take some extra-time up front. But, it’s totally worth it in my opinion because you can save so much money.
I don’t know the exact amount my parents saved from doing these tricks. But I estimate it saved them hundreds of dollars a year. While I can’t guarantee how much money you’ll save, I encourage you to try these same steps to see how much money you can save.
How to Save Money on Ground Beef
Step 1: Buy Hamburger in Bulk Packages
Regardless of the time of year, or what sales are going on, you can save money on ground beef by buying in bulk.
For example, I compared ground beef prices at my Walmart. As of this week (February 2020), a one pound package of ground beef costs $3.24. Or in other words, when you buy ground beef in one pound portions, the price per pound of ground beef is $3.24.
Now, if you buy a five pound package of ground beef, the total price is $12.92. So, the price per pound of ground beef is $2.59 per pound. So, if you bought this package of meat, you could end up saving $0.66 per pound!
In comparison, if you buy a 10 pound package of ground beef, the total price is $21.48. This makes the price per pound of ground beef $2.15 per pound. So, if you bought a 10 pound package instead of one pound packages you could be saving $1.09 per pound!
To compare the total price, if you bought 10, one pound packages of ground beef, you would pay, $32.40. Or you could buy one, 10 pound package of ground beef for $21.48. And this would be a savings of $10.92!!! That’s insane!
Typically, the savings will increase even more as you buy even bigger packages. So, moral of the story, buy in bulk!
If you have a membership to a warehouse store (like Costco or Sam’s), be sure to compare these prices too! Often times, you can find a great price on bulk meat even when there are no sales going on.
Step 2: Watch for Meat Sales
The next step to save money on ground beef is to watch for when meat goes on sale. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to check the weekly circulars for your grocery store to see if there are any advertised sales going on. Although, I’ve also seen stores do flash sales too. Stores also tend to discount meat around holidays like Memorial Day or the 4th of July. So, keep an eye out for those sales!
Generally, just start keeping track of prices. You can do this mentally, or write it down in your phone or a notebook.
As a general rule of thumb, I have an upper price limit I will be willing to pay per pound of ground beef. If I can, I really try avoiding paying more than this price. For me, I rarely buy ground beef if it’s over $3 per pound. For you, your limit may be different, but I highly recommend you set one for yourself too.
This is especially helpful to tell when meat goes on sale. For example, if I see meat on sale at my local grocery store that’s regularly $4 per pound that’s now $3.50 per pound, I know it’s still not the best deal I can get. So, I’ll hold out for an even better deal. Then, when I do see ground beef less than $3.00 per pound, that’s when I stock up!
As you begin to watch the prices where you shop, you’ll be able to tell what average, good, or great deals are! Be patient and vigilant, and you’ll be a pricing pro too!
Step 3: Get to Know the Butcher or Meat Counter Employees
You’ve probably heard the advice to make friends with your butcher, and I’m here to tell you, it’s true!
My local grocery stores don’t have an on-site butcher. Instead, they have a meat counter, and meat counter employees and specialists. But the advice still works there too.
The next time you are shopping, ask the butcher or the meat counter employees when their meat goes on sale or is discounted. For me, they put out the discounted meat Wednesday mornings at 6 a.m. Weird–I know. But, that’s what they do.
So, find out what times your grocery store puts out their discounted priced items, and you can save even more money buying these packages of meat at those times.
Step 4: Divide Hamburger into Smaller Amounts
Once you’ve purchased your ground beef, you’ll want to make sure you store it properly. There’s no use in buying lots of meat, or discounted meat that will expire soon, if you don’t take care of it quickly.
As much as I know you don’t want to deal with portioning the ground beef immediately after shopping, it’s the best time to do it. Once, it’s done, you don’t have to worry about it again. So, just do it right when you get home! Or, schedule a time within the next 24 hours when you will take care of it.
Since this is a food blog, I want to include a cooking hack for you. For any recipe calling for 1 lb. of ground beef, substitute 3/4 lb. The savings really add up over time, and no one will miss it. Plus, you can always supplement the meat with other proteins, like beans, that are less expensive. Or you can always serve inexpensive side dishes too to help bulk up a meal.
To use the hack above, you can even portion your meat into smaller sizes. If I buy a 5 pound roll of ground beef, instead of portioning it into 5 portions, I will divide it into 6 portions to get one more meal from the one roll.
Step 5: Put in Freezer Bags and Freeze
Once you have portioned out the meat, the next step is to put the ground beef into freezer bags and store.
As a reminder, always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water. Wipe off the outside of the plastic bags too if it touches any raw meet. Lets keep those fingers clean! 😉
As mentioned above, I usually buy ground beef in a rolled log. So, I will cut my log into puck shapes, and add each puck shape into a plastic freezer bag.
How to Shape Ground Beef for Easy Thawing
Previously, I used to flatten the hamburger once it was portioned into bags. Because of some advice from my brother, I no longer do this step. Instead, I will either keep the meat in a patty form, or I will gently roll it into a ball. Next, I’ll squeeze out as much air from the plastic bag as I can, and close the bag. Then, I’ll freeze the bags of ground beef until I need them.
When I’m ready to use the ground beef, I pull out a bag from the freezer. I will microwave the ground beef for about two to two and a half minutes. If after this time, if the meat is still frozen on the outside, keep microwaving in 30 second increments until the outside is soft and can be easily pushed in with a finger.
For some reason, the meat is so much softer in the middle out of the microwave because of the balled shape! It’s amazing! When I would freeze them flat, the edges of the package would start to brown and cook in the microwave, and the middle would still be frozen. Since I started shaping my meat, I don’t have this problem any more.
Although, the meat does tend to get freezer burn more easily when stored this way. So, be sure to get out as much air as you can from the package before you close it. And try to use the ground beef within 3 months, or so, to prevent freezer burn.
How to Save Money on Ground Beef Conclusion
In conclusion, to save money on ground beef, buy in bulk, watch for sales, learn from your butcher when meat is on sale, portion the meat into smaller sizes, and freeze for future use.
These steps saved my parents so much money while we were growing up. Now, I’m implementing them within my own budget and meal plan.
Please let me know if you enjoyed this hack. If so, I’d love to start doing more of these kinds of posts for you! Or if you have any suggestions of other posts you’d like to see, let me know that too!
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