Photo credit nytimes.com
In the world of couponing, unfortunately there are some items that are harder to grab a deal on than others. I’m sure you know the ones I am talking about. There just aren’t that many coupons available for milk, eggs, and meat. Well to make matters worse, prices are expected to rise over the next year on these products due to the drought that is devastating the Midwest. Since the drought is now affecting 88 percent of the corn crop, beef prices are expected to rise by 4 – 5% with a slightly lower increase on poultry, pork, eggs, and dairy prices. So are we doomed to pay a new, higher full-price? Or is there a way to save on these products?
I think this is one of those situations that call for some creative couponing. While I can’t make a magical meat coupon appear, there are a few out-of-the box ways to save that I can suggest…
- First, buy your meat in bulk and when it’s on sale. Almost all stores have a lower unit price on larger packages which you can then divide at home and split into smaller portions. Speaking of portions, that’s actually another way to save! If you stick to serving the proper portion size (4oz of meat for adults) you’ll help your wallet and your health too. Maybe even consider choosing one day each week to serve a vegetarian meal. Look for a recipe using in-season vegetables which you can purchase from local farm stands or farmer’s markets at a great price.
- As I’ve mentioned in the past, always be on the lookout for meat markdowns. This is one of my favorite ways to save! Many grocery stores discount meat when it gets close to its “sell by” date. I regularly purchase meat with discounts of up to $3 off! Markdown dates can fall on any day of the week, but for me locally, I seem to have luck with them on Thursdays and Saturdays for fresh meat. This is pure speculation, but I think that’s about when they are trying to get rid of what’s left from the current sale and get ready for the following week’s ad. To me purchasing discounted me is no big deal…I’m either going to use the meat soon or freeze it anyway, as I’m sure many of you also do with all of your meat purchases. So keep your eyes peeled and watch for those markdowns!
- You may have also noticed that almost every grocery store has deals at least a few times a month where when you buy select items you’ll get a discount for a certain amount off your order. Sometimes the discount immediately comes off your total. Other times you’ll receive a catalina coupon (a coupon that is triggered by purchasing select items and prints at the register) at checkout for money off your next purchase. These discounts can be used towards items that you don’t have coupons for such as meat, produce, dairy products, or anything that you would like to save on. It’s almost like creating your own coupon.
Just remember saving is saving…whether you are saving on meat or another staple that your family needs. If you’re not having luck finding a deal on a particular product you need, focus on saving on everyday items such as cleaning products, pantry items, paper products, etc. I mean if you are getting those products for practically nothing, then you won’t mind paying for the items that are harder to save on.