New Poor College Student, Advice needed!
I'm trying to go Primal, today is day 7. It's been pretty good so far, but I made the mistake of buying corned beef before I realized what that means. I want to eat the 'good' meats but they all seem to be so expensive. For example, I went to my local farmer's market today to see how much their meat is and the grain-fed beef is at least $13/lb. I know I should be looking for grass-fed, but I can only guess that that would be more expensive.
Are there any other students, or used-to-be students, that have some advice for finding good reasonably priced meat?
Do you live in Antarctica? What type of beef are you looking at for 13$/lb?
You want to find the butcher shop. Google butcher shop and your location.
Last edited by GoLisaGo; 01-14-2012 at 09:56 AM.
The meats I was looking at were mostly steaks. Probably my first mistake. I don't know a whole lot about shopping for red meat in the first place. I might just stick to chicken, but I would at least like to give this a good try.
There is a butcher shop nearby; 4 miles. Thanks! New experiences everywhere with this lifestyle change.
If your parents are rich, ask for their credit card so you can buy good food, and also ask them to send you a butler.
If not, then limit yourself to the cheap stuff. Not grass-fed.
Chicken thighs, chicken legs, chicken leg quarters. With skin and bone in.
Chuck steak. London broil.
Sardines packed in water. This is going to be your main fish unless you can also afford shrimp sometimes.
Center cut pork roast, if you have an oven. Much cheaper than pork chops.
Chuck roast if you have an oven.
Beef stew meat.
If you're poor, you have to stick to the loooong-cooking kinds of meats, because all the rich busy people want the quick cooking cuts of meat, so they are much pricier.
Find a butcher shop where you live, they usually have good deals on cheap stuff.
Buy bacon ONCE, cook it, and save the fat. Now you can use this fat to cook instead of buying butter or coconut oil, saving you lots of money.
Use a lot of fat when cooking, so you are satisfied with less meat.
Buy cheap potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, frozen peas, then consider getting green leafy vegetables (kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach, cabbage, etc) if you still have money, and THEN if you still have money, buy the expensive stuff like broccoli, green beans, etc.
Last edited by abstractpersona; 01-14-2012 at 10:09 AM.
Grass fed may not be much more than grain fed from the local farmer's market. There's not much difference in price in my location for local beef, regardless of its food source.
Eat Wild is a great website for finding grass fed beef. If you stick to cheaper cuts of meat that you have to cook slowly, you'll save money. Beef shanks are great - you can make delicious osso busso for only a few dollars, and then save the bones to make stock.
U.S. Wellness Meats — Our Animals Eat Right So You Can Too. U.S. Wellness Meats has online ordering. If you order enough, you can qualify for free shipping. Again, if you stick to the cheaper options, it certainly helps.
Another factor is not to use as much red meat. Scour for sales, and only buy it when it's cheap. Rotate with fish, chicken, and eggs. I know that GFS has frozen bulk packages of wild salmon with the skin on for a great price. Having a freezer really helps. One of our grocery stores here still has a full-fledged butcher. My parents buy a whole beef tenderloin when it's on sale, and have the butcher cut it into steaks (for free). They freeze most of it. Steaks might be out of your budget, but the concept still applies - larger cheaper cuts of meat, like chuck roast, can be cut up into stew meat, or ground, etc. by your butcher for free.
I wouldn't skimp on quality, though and buy factory farmed animal products. It may be a bit routine, but eggs and chicken thighs are always fairly cheap. If you get bone-in thighs, save them and make stock! You can really get a lot for your money, but it takes watching prices and careful planning. You may also find better prices at stores, rather than farmer's markets. We have a few farmer's markets here in my city, and some vendors have significantly higher prices than what I can find in the store. Many grocery stores are now carrying organic produce, and even local when it's in season. Don't write off your local grocer just yet - there may be hidden gems you're unaware of.
Above all, research and price shop. Find out what the cheapest cuts of meat are and how to prepare them. Find out what the prices are at stores around you. Ask the butcher or meat department or farmer if they ever have sales. If you develop a rapport with them, sometimes they will save you things that generally don't sell, like bones for soups, stews, and stock. Offal or liver, etc. It certainly can't hurt to make polite chit-chat, and sometime it can get you things for free.
I have a few recommendations for you. First, buy what's on sale. I got a grass fed chuck roast for about $9.50 (2 lbs) at Whole Paycheck last week. I stuck it in the crockpot (see the recipe on this site~it's roast 3 ways) and got more than 6 meals out of it. You can cook that large quantity and then just use it in different recipes. The roast was so good, I could have just eaten it that way all week!
If you don't have a crockpot, get one~you can probably find one at a thrift store or for no more than $20 at a store. It makes cooking easy, and you can cook large quantities to use over multiple meals. Cheaper meats need slow, low heat cooking, so this helps a lot.
Second, plan your meals once a week. Sit with the sale ads, plan out your menu, make a list, then stick to it. Impulse buys, food you don't eat~these drive up your costs.
Eggs are your friend. They'll fill you up~make or buy some fresh salsa to put on them and you can vary the flavor. Omelettes are great for breakfast or dinner, and you can sneak in a ton of veggies.
Search the internet for paleo recipes. You'll find things that use meat in your budget that you don't know how to make right now.
Lots of good ideas here but wanted to add... canned salmon is your friend when you are doing paleo on a budget. It's always wild-caught and if you stock up when it's on sale you can end up paying less than three bucks a pound for it. Buy the traditional kind with the bones and skin and you'll get some extra calcium and Vitamin D along with the Omega 3's. They mash up really easily. I often eat salmon patties with my eggs for breakfast.
1) Do find a butcher.
2) Shop by price, not by cut. Figure out what price works in your budget, and buy whatever it'll get you. If that's ground beef, it's ground beef. Ask about cuts such as heart & tongue. They're typically much cheaper, and they're delicious.
Thanks for all the great ideas! I had never heard of canned salmon before (heard of tuna), but I'll go check that out.
I've been making eggs a regular thing. I'll try to get more meats with the bones in them.
Hahaha about getting my parents credit card and a butler. Maybe good meats could become a birthday present.
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