Inflation: Tips for saving on holiday meats

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As families in the U.S. prepare to face Thanksgiving and Christmas inflation on their favorite food staples, the cost of meat has already gone up.

Economic challenges that are directly impacting supply chains and labor forces are being passed on to consumers, AgAmerica’s Senior Director of Institutional Credit Curt Covington told FOX Business.

"We’re spending about 5% more to buy food compared to last fall, and while that’s not as extreme as the inflation rate we’re seeing for housing or transportation, it still means extra money is coming out of your pocket," Covington explained. "A shortage of truck drivers contributes to these increases, along with continued demand as people cook a lot of meals at home."

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While some consumers can easily find a bargain on produce by visiting farmer’s markets or shopping for frozen or canned fruits and veggies, meat discounts can be hard to secure if you’re looking for something fresh.

If you’re looking to protect your wallet next time you go to a supermarket or butcher, here are a few expert shopping tips that should get you through meatflation.

As families in the U.S. prepare to face Thanksgiving and Christmas inflation on their favorite food staples, the cost of meat has already gone up. (istock)

Certain meats are cheaper than others. Oak View Law Group bankruptcy attorney and financial writer Lyle David Solomon told FOX Business that whole ham, chicken legs, whole chicken and bone-in pork chops tend to be "cheap even during inflation."

"If you want to have meat without hurting your budget, you should certainly try out different cuts of meat," Solomon said. "For example, hanger steak, beef short ribs, flank steak, beef cheeks, bavette, chuck steak, feather blade, flat iron, heel, pectoral muscle, sirloin tip, beef clod, tri-tip, brisket, ground beef, topside cap, chicken legs, bone-in pork chops, ground turkey, etc. Most of these cuts are underrated and inexpensive. But there are lots of flavorful recipes you can try out."

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Bone-in and unmarinated meats are generally priced lower than boneless and marinated meats, Solomon added.

Other money-saving shopping tricks Solomon swears by include buying meat at wholesale clubs over grocery stores for maximized discounts, buying meat on Monday mornings when stores mark down products, adjusting meal plans to only incorporate meats on sale, checking meat manufacturer websites for coupons and purchasing whole chickens than can be cut up and shared with neighbors who are willing to split the cost.

"If you are buying meat in bulk when there is a great deal, try to repack and label it for long-term preservation," Solomon continued. "You can divide the meat into several small portions and wrap them with butcher paper. You can even use a vacuum sealer to keep it in good condition for several days."

Bone-in and unmarinated meats are generally priced lower than boneless and marinated meats, according to Lyle David Solomon, a bankruptcy attorney and financial writer. (iStock)

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Families can potentially save more money on meat if they plan out their purchases in advance, consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch told FOX Business.

"Meal plan and shop with a list. Limiting impulse purchases is more important than ever especially for fresh foods that could easily spoil," Woroch said. 

To save money on meat, Woroch said families should cross-reference their ingredient list, pantry and fridge to avoid doubling up on products. She also recommends checking in-store unit prices to find the best deal.

"Don’t assume the bigger package is a better deal as smaller containers can be cheaper when you buy multiple on sale," Woroch explained.

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Shopping around for free meat deals or finding manager markdown offers can help when you’re buying for large groups.

Consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch recommends coupon websites, delivery apps and credit card rewards resources for finding meat deals. (iStock)

"Grocery stores will reduce prices on fresh foods that are nearing their expiration date, and you can often find deals on meat, poultry and fish," Woroch said. "Just make sure to cook it right away or freeze for later use. And check if it was previously frozen since you won't be able to freeze it again."

When it comes down to finding actual meat deals, Woroch likes to use coupon websites, delivery apps and credit card rewards resources. A few of her favorites include CouponFollow.com, Instacart, HelloFresh, Cently.com, the aggregated grocery circular app Flipp and CardRates.com.

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Limiting your meat consumption to only a few days a week could also help your wallet if you’re trying to save as much as you can, according to Woroch.

"Incorporate meatless meals throughout the week," Woroch said. "You can find plenty of delicious and filling meatless recipes online. Not every meal has to include meat, contrary to what some meat lovers think."

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