This tip is less a money-saving tip (although you may save some money) than a way to be a little more mindful of what you are eating. Lean ground beef, eaten in moderation, is an easy and inexpensive way to add protein to your diet. A club pack of 90% ground beef at my local supermarket is $2.49/lb.
I wondered, though, what exactly is ground beef made of?? A trip to the USDA website yielded this less-than-helpful nugget:
Generally, ground beef is made from the less tender and less popular cuts of beef. Trimmings from more tender cuts may also be used. Grinding tenderizes the meat and the fat reduces its dryness and improves flavor.
Um, ok. No one is talking about what these trimmings might include. Seriously — google it. And if there is no USDA regulation about what is in these “trimmings,” it’s probably safe to assume that beef companies are using the absolute cheapest scraps available. Also, while it is illegal to plump up ground beef with added water or fillers, it is perfectly legal to inject it with ammonia as a defense against e.Coli.
I think you get my point. Commercial ground beef is questionable at best. But at $2.49 a pound, it’s affordable. Organic beef, which is $5.19 per pound at my supermarket, is over twice as costly.
But you can split the difference by using the following tip: Purchase a cheaper cut of beef from the grocery store. If you shop the night before the store restocks, you can get a cut like boneless chuck roast (typically $4.79/lb at my store) for up to 50% off. Then, bring the cut to the butcher in the meat section, and ask them to grind it for you. Smaller supermarkets may not have a butcher on staff, but most of the larger ones do, and this is a free service.
To read more of my tips on saving money on meat, head over here.