If you’ve been involved in the natural living community long enough, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of grass-fed organic meat.
However, if you’re like me with a family and debt to pay off, the price of such products can be a bit prohibitive when you’re on a budget.
Healthy foods don’t have to break the budget, though. It is possible to save money on grass-fed organic meat with these tips.
Why is grass-fed meat healthier?
According to the American Grassfed Association, grassfed and pastured meats contain Omega 3s, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals.
The animals themselves also benefit from being raised in the more natural environment of a pasture as opposed to spending their lives in a feedlot.
Plus, cattle and sheep are made to live off of eating grasses, not grains. When they are allowed to eat what they are made to eat, they can make the best use of the nutrients in their food. Then those nutrients can also make their way to us in the meat.
Why is organic meat healthier?
Conventionally raised meats are often given shots to help them grow, fend off diseases, and more. They are also fed non-organic feed or grass that is full of chemicals as well. Some of the chemicals in these shots are still present in the meat when it reaches our table, and these can add to the toxic load in our bodies.
By buying organic, we can lessen the amount of chemicals that we’re putting into our bodies.
How to save money on grass-fed organic meat
1. Don’t shop in a grocery store
One of the best ways to save on grass-fed organic meat is to not buy it at the grocery store. Yes, they sell it there, and you could get some if you ran out and needed some quickly. However, it’s usually going to be marked up quite a bit from what you would pay the farmer.
By purchasing directly from the farmer, you avoid having to pay for transportation and overhead costs that the store needs to charge in order to make a profit off of the products they’re selling. You can also see how the meat you’re buying was raised, as opposed to grabbing something off the shelf.
2. Buy in bulk
When you purchase meat directly from the farmer, you can often get a bulk discount for buying a certain amount of meat at a time.
Depending on the farmer, this bulk discount can either be in the form of a minimum number of pounds of meat you need to order, or you can buy a “share” or portion of an animal.
For example, for beef, lamb, and pork, you can often have the option to purchase a quarter, half, or whole animal. This means that you get a variety of cuts for a flat rate per pound instead of paying the normal per-pound price for ground, steaks/chops, roasts, etc. You may also me able to find bulk discounts on chicken, though probably at a minimum number of pounds rate due to their small size.
3. Buy a deep freezer
This is probably one of my favorite tips for saving money on food, meat or otherwise. This allows you to buy larger amounts of meat at a bulk price instead of purchasing it a la carte at the store.
Obviously if you live in a small house or apartment and can’t fit in a freezer (though they do many small ones), this might not work so well for you.
If you buy meat in bulk from the farmer, you can fill your freezer with wholesome foods pretty quickly!
4. Buy on sale
Every so often, store or farmers will put certain cuts of meat on sale. Often this match up with what people are most likely to be cooking during that time of year.
- Memorial Day, Fourth of July, summer, etc. = ground beef and steak
- Fall/Winter = roasts and stew meat
Other times, these types of meats will be sold cheaper toward the end of a season if the farmer still has extra inventory.
5. Learn how to cook with cheaper cuts
If you order a bundle of meat or a quarter or half of an animal, chances are you’ll end up with some different cuts of meat you haven’t cooked before or don’t use on a regular basis.
This can be a great opportunity to learn how to cook new cuts.
Plus, if they’re cheaper cuts you’ll be able to use that knowledge when you purchase those more affordable cuts of meats when you’re not buying in bulk. Often these cuts can be stretched with other ingredients to make more than one meal, thus stretching your food budget even further.
6. Make the most of the cuts you have
Like the previous point, you can take advantage of the new cuts of meat in your freezer to learn how to make new things.
Simply search “how to cook (insert cut of meat here)” and you’ll probably be able to find quite a few recipes.
You can also ask your farmer how to cook them, because they usually know how to cook most of the things they sell. Some farmers even have recipes on their websites.
7. What if I can’t afford both grass-fed and organic?
If you like the idea of grass-fed AND organic meat, but still find the cost to be prohibitive, you can often find meat that is one or the other, sometimes at a slightly lower price.
For example, you might be able to find organic meat that has been raised on corn. Since that is a cheaper food that helps fatten up animals more quickly, it may be slightly less expensive. Sometimes farmers will have meat is partially corn-fed but is finished with grass so it can be considered “grass-finished”. By talking to your farmer, you can learn what he or she does on their farm.
You also might find grass-fed meat that isn’t organic as there are some supplements or shots that farmers give to their animals that help with certain issues or diseases but that aren’t considered organic or they’re raised on land that is sprayed with chemicals.
Depending on what your priorities are, you can decide if you’d rather have grass-fed meat or organic meat based on what’s right for your family.
Decide which areas you to focus your spending on
As I talked about in the first post in the series, sometimes it isn’t possible to have as low of a grocery budget when buying real food as you might when buying cheaper, conventional meat and other foods.
When this is the case, you can evaluate your priorities. If you want to be able to buy grass-fed organic meat for your family, are there other areas where you might be able to cut your spending on to be able to increase your food budget?
No matter what your situation or what kind of meat (or other food) you choose to buy, I hope these tips can help you save money on the meat you buy to feed your family.
Check out my Real Food on a Budget series:
- How to Afford Healthy Food on a Budget
- How to Save Money on Grass-fed Organic Meat (you’re here)
- Where to Find Affordable Organic Produce (and tips for how to get the best deal)
- How to Get the Most Nutrient Dense Food for Your Money
- More posts on the way!
What is your favorite cut of meat to cook with?
Linking with Rosie