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For us, it’s a bit of a balancing act. For certain meals and occasions, we buy
higher end meats, like beef tenderloins, rib roasts, porterhouse, etc. But one of the things we really love about the
egg is its ability to make “normal” food taste so much better. The majority of
the time we buy much lesser expensive meats or take advantage of specials and
stock up. For example, I can usually
find whole chickens and turkeys pretty cheap. Whether spatchcocked, beer butt or roasted,
everybody loves them on the Egg. The last several months, we’ve been able to
find pork loins for $1.50-2.00/lb., and they’re awesome on the Egg. After seeing one of Doc’s famous drumstick posts,
I bought one of those wing/egg racks, and now my wife even loves drumsticks
(after 37 years!). And, as several have
mentioned already, there’s something special about a pizza on the Egg. We’ve now
found ourselves spending more time on weekends wondering what to cook on the
Egg than which restaurant to go to, although we still go to plenty. All in all, our food budget has probably gone
down, but our food quality has improved. And we’re just newbies - every day I get more
ideas from this forum. Now, the beer and whiskey budget, that’s another thing...
LBGE, Weber Gasser, Weber Kettle
There are some really good tips here in this thread. I'll say what works for us (even though it is repeating some stuff)
I NEVER eat out for lunch. One - because its too expensive and B - I work in the middle of nowhere so it would take 15 minutes to get to the nearest fast food joint and 15 minutes back. That's time off the clock. If I stay in the lab and eat what I bring, I don't have to clock out. I'd rather get off early than waste time driving somewhere. And 3 - it helps us get rid of all our leftovers so we aren't wasting money on food being thrown away.
Buy in bulk. Its always cheaper. Get yourself a vac sealer, come home from the grocery store and break down the packages into manageable meals for your family. We'll buy the large flats of chicken breasts or legs or thighs (or beef or pork cuts) and generally break them down into 3 or 4 adult portions. We eat it one night, and we take the rest for lunch. Also works great for primals at Sams and other box stores. If you are doing a butt or chuck roast (for pulled beef), vac seal the leftovers and you have meat for quick meals like nachos or pizza.
Those big thick steaks sure do look nice, don't they? But take into account portion control. Do you really need that much beef in one meal? We might buy a thick steak, but we usually end up splitting it and most of the time still don't finish it. So lets say that steak was $15 just for fun, pulled that number out of thin air. Two people eat on it and then leftovers the next day say on top of a salad. It just became $5 a portion. Not to bad if you look at it that way.
Sales. I'm not afraid to admit it. We clip coupons, we shop sales, we look at flyers and compare. Every time I go into the store, I swing by the meat section. See what's marked down or on sale. If you get in the habit of that, you start to know what things normally cost and can spot when something is a deal. Don't be so proud to not look at the quick sale section. I know our store has a section for meat that needs to be sold in a few days or tossed. Nothing wrong with picking up some meat there (if it doesn't have a funky color) and freezing it for later. Those beef fajitas I did Sunday night? they were marked down 50%! And still had 3 days till the must be sold date. Perfectly fine and skirt steak at $2 a lb? How can you pass that up? I took all 3 packages they had, cooked one and froze the other two.
Holidays - this one most people miss out on. Think of what meat is associated with every holiday. Go in the day after to a coupla days later and what do you think happens to the price of all that meat that they overstocked? It drops. Turkeys after Thanksgiving, prime rib after Christmas, corned beef after St. Patty's day, ham after whatever. And after Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day? You got it...brisket, ribs, butts, hot dogs, hamburger meat. Great way to stock up.
No need to touch on going out to eat. That's been covered.
Finally, look at your vices. Do you go to Starbucks (or somewhere for coffee) every day? How much would you save if you made coffee at home. We are super excited about how much we are going to save by quitting smoking this year. That's going to add up. (Day 2 by the way without one). Liquor....oh who am I kidding? We aren't cutting back there. A life with no vices is no kinda life I want to lead.
Its all manageable, cut where you can and splurge every once in awhile. And I think somebody already said it here, but you might see somebody post a fancy expensive cook, but you might not have seen what they ate the day before or after. It could have been something cheap like a grilled cheese sandwich or a pb&j for all you know.
Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook
Thanks, everyone. I don't usually shop at a full-service grocery store, so I don't stumble on specials. I should make a habit of stopping in or at least reading the fliers. Shopping habits are a bit different in urban areas than in the suburbs.