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Lowering Your Food Bill!

Many households are struggling with high food prices as a result of ongoing high inflation.  It is virtually impossible to escape the rising cost of food in order to feed ourselves and our families.

Many people have had to make some very difficult choices in order to try and make their limited food dollars go farther.  Some people have started using coupons, keeping an eye out for sale prices, switching to less popular name brand foods, etc.  Where possible, some people have even taken up growing some of their own vegetables.  In  some situations, people have had to resort to food banks.

My mom was a single parent of two children in the 1980’s, back when inflation was as high as it is today.  She also had to get creative.  I remember times when she made us soup and told us we were only allowed to have 4 crackers per bowl of soup.  That sounds ridiculous now, but she did what she had to do, to stretch her food budget the best that she could.  It may sound strange, but whenever I have crackers in my soup, I usually have 8 or more crackers per bowl now.

As we try and make our current food budget stretch as much as we can for our family of four, I’ve been trying to reflect back on what my mom had done.  Then it hit me.  

I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but someone had introduced her to the concept of buying meat in bulk.  There were a couple of companies advertising sides of beef.  These companies usually indicated the various cuts of meat that would be included in the order which ranged from steaks, roasts, ground beef, etc..  By ordering an entire side of beef at once, the price usually worked out to about half of what you would pay in the grocery store.

I remember at least one of the companies even offered freezer rentals for those who didn’t have a large enough freezer.  As my mom was eager to jump on this, she split the cost and order with a neighbor of hers as she didn’t have enough room in our large freezer.  She then let the contents of the freezer slowly work its way down to almost empty around March or April.

Then she got even more creative. When she had her Income Tax done, she would use the entire tax return to put in a full order of a half beef, which would usually fill the entire freezer.  Since she was using the tax return to pay for the half beef orders, she was essentially getting all of that meat for FREE.

We have recently looked into this and noticed a few companies where a person can order sides of beef and pork.  When comparing the prices to what is listed in the local grocery stores flyers, this is what we found.  

Beef @ Local Grocery Stores flyers:

Platinum Grill Angus Cap off rib steak    $15.99 per pound

Marinated Beef Short Ribs                         $8.99 per pound

Top Sirloin Steak or Flank Steak              $12.99 per pound

Ground Beef                                                  $6.99 per pound

Boneless Blade Roast                                  $9.07 per pound

Boneless Stew Beef                                      $9.07 per pound

Buying a side of local Beef approximately 350 pounds

Various cuts of steaks, roasts etc. is        $6.00 per pound

Pork @ Local Grocery Stores

Loin Back Ribs                                             $5.99 per pound

Boneless Pork Chops                                  $4.99 per pound

Buying a side of Pork approximately 120 pounds

Various cuts of steaks, roasts etc. is         $4.25 per pound

Based on what we found, the biggest savings was in the purchasing of a side of beef.  Now prices will obviously vary from location to location, so I would recommend that you do side by side comparisons like I did.  That way you’d be able to determine if purchasing a side of beef or pork would in fact save you money.

The local company where sides of beef and sides of pork can be ordered has useful information with regards to freezer space which is as follows:

Generally speaking you can fit about 30 lbs of meat per cubic foot of freezer space. For a whole beef, 250 – 400lbs of meat, you’d need 8 to 14 cu. ft. A side of beef, (1/2 animal) 110 – 180 lbs of meat would require 4 – 7 cu. ft, and a quarter of a beef would take two to four cu. ft.

For us, we’ll be doing exactly what my mom had done.   After our initial order, we will then use our income tax returns in the spring of 2023 to fill both of our large freezers.  

Therefore, we would highly recommend that people check in their area for a reputable supplier that offers bulk purchases of meat and do the side by side comparisons like we did for this Blog.  With food prices the way that they are, it would definitely be worthwhile to check out.

Thanks MOM for your creative smart thinking back then.   That thinking will not only help us save money on our food bill now, but hopefully many others as well.

Until next time, stay safe, healthy and strong.

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