One place in our budget we struggle with the most is groceries. I am very particular about what I am feeding my family, and big name stores with cheap food freak me out. I just don’t feel comfortable about buying more than the staple foods there. So what happens? I find myself spending a lot of money buying produce and meat from expensive grocery stores.
I’ve learned over the years how to manage the produce costs – by shopping in-season produce only, or by visiting our local farmer’s markets through the summer to score the best deals, but meat was still something I had a hard time with. I only liked to buy my meat from the butcher counter, which was expensive.
In researching ways to keep my grocery costs low, I had quite a few people tell me that I am missing out by not using a butcher. I knew nothing about what a butcher could offer and thought I could only get fresh meat by the truckload there and only what they had available. What I didn’t know was that yes, you can buy large quantities, but they are cut to your liking, and packaged the way you want them.
While it is nice to have a bulk of fresh meat to choose from when you are ready to prepare dinner, I needed a little more convincing that the butcher was a good idea. While it can save hundreds of dollars on fresh meatin the long run, it is a little more expensive up front.
Something I wasn’t even considering was that you know what you are getting when you are buying from a butcher. When you go to places like Butcher’s Mark, you can see exactly what farms each type of meat comes from. Whether you prefer ground beef, steak, pork, veil, or chicken, there are no questions about what has been fed to or done to the animals prior to you purchasing the meat.
Another big thing you have control over is the cuts of meat you are getting from your butcher. There are cuts that are expensive and cuts that are a little less expensive. Unlike a grocery store, when you go in, you are able to control your costs a little better and still walk out with a great selection of fresh meat– not whatever was on the grocery store clearance rack!
Going to the butcher is a whole experience! The best part is that although they obviously focus on meats, they sell other things that you need to go along with your meat, like homemade marinades for the perfect compliment to you meal. The little extras you can purchase along with the feeling of community and supporting a small business was enough to turn me into a loyal customer of our local butcher. Now when I go in, not only do I know I am getting the best food for my family, the best bang for my buck, but I am also met with a familiar smiling face who knows exactly how I like my steak to be cut and my ribs to be packaged!