29 August 2013

A Quarterly Meat Shop


You asked for it! You want to know how I shop and how often and what I buy and the prices I pay so seeing as I've just done a quarterly meat shop I'll make that the starting point.

I married a "feed the man meat" man. He comes from farming background and if there's no meat on his plate it's not a meal. He's not fussed about the type of meat, but there must be meat. The boys have followed in their father's taste buds and love their meat too.  Hannah and I can take it or leave, which is a good thing for my grocery budget.

I'm not inclined to not buy meat just to save money. Wayne likes it and if I can get a decent cut at a decent price I am happy to buy, cook and serve it. By the same token I also very often prepare meatless meals to help keep the grocery bill down.

We have always had a freezer. Wayne's parents gave us one for a wedding present. When it died we bought a second hand (third or fourth probably) chest freezer for $50 and used it until it died three years ago. I spent a frantic week shopping around for prices and eventually we bought a brand new chest freezer for $300 (including delivery and taking away the old one).

For my family budget a freezer is essential because it's not only meat I buy in bulk, but that's for another post on groceries.

Time, money and convenience are the factors that keep me shopping for meat once every three months. I used to buy a side of beef, a whole lamb and 60kg of chicken once a year but when the prices of lamb and beef sky rocketed the saving disappeared and so did my once-a-year meat stock-up.

Two years ago I switched to buying once every 12 weeks and frankly I love it and unless beef and lamb drop drastically I'll be sticking with this plan.

My top price per kilo for meat is $8.99/kg.

Steak (rump, oyster blade, bbq, porterhouse, scotch fillet) - $8.99
Roast beef - $6.99
Corned beef - $5.99
Lamb (sides, leg of, chops) - $6.99
Mince - $3.99
Sausage mince - $2.00
Sausages - $.329
Chicken fillets (skin on) - $5.99
Chicken wings -$1.99
Chicken pieces - $2.99
Whole chicken - $3.99

My regular visit to the butcher was scheduled for next Monday (I go on the first Monday of the quarter) but as things have come up, I went today.


Today I bought:
4 x legs of lamb ($5.99/kg - 9.47kg)
6 x whole chickens (No. 18/$5.99 each - approx. 11kg)
3 x pieces of roasting beef ($7.99/kg - 5.32kg)
11kg beef mince ($3.79/kg)
3kg casserole beef ($14 - bulk buy special price)
12kg chicken fillets, skin on ($5.99/kg) 
2 lamb shanks ($5.99 - my splurge)

Grand total:  $270.00 or an average of $23 a week for meat for my family.

There wasn't any steak for under $9.99/kg so no steak this time. And the sausages were OK but we're not huge sausage fans, the trays were almost 3kg and I had some in the freezer so I passed on them. Chicken wings were too expensive, as were the chicken pieces. And corned beef was $6.99kg - it's cheaper at Coles this week at $5.99/kg so I passed on the silverside too.

Every three months I work on buying enough meat for 60 family meals (the others are soup/toasted sandwiches/eggs on toast etc.).

From today's shop, and with the few parcels left in the freezer, there are 65 parcels of meat, in family meal size portions, in the freezer.  I am two meals ahead (I've done the shopping 3 meals early if that makes sense).

You can eat meat, and good meat at that, without going broke. It takes a little planning and you need to be prepared to substitute when prices are high, but it is worth it.

For a family of five carnivores a meat bill of $23 a week is fine with me.

10 comments:

  1. I usually consider myself a smart shopper but i was gobsmacked at how cheap your meat prices were (example $8.99 per kilo for steak) Where are you shopping to get your meat prices so cheap? Is it at local butchers? And do you find youself spending a lot of time doing to different places to find the best deal? After reading your post I think I need to get more serious about shopping around, especially for meat as it's a product that's quite expensive by the kilo!
    Am only new to reading your blog, so look forward to reading some more interesting posts.
    Jackie xo

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  2. Jackie yesterday's meat shop came from Tasman Meats in Mt Waverley. The average price was $7/kg for that shop, a little higher than normal because I bought more chicken than I usually would.

    I am not loyal to any particular butcher, I shop where the prices are cheapest within a reasonable (no more than 15 minute drive) distance from home. Three other butchers I use regularly, depending on their prices on shopping day are Knox Wholesale Butcher, Universal Poultry (they do all meats)in Rowville and Discount Meat Outlet in Scoresby.

    I very rarely ever buy meat from a supermarket - prices far too high for budget. It has to be an exceptional price and I need to have money in the slush fund for a supermarket purchase.

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  3. Hi Cath, Thank you - this information is so helpful especially with the forever rising cost of food. My very old smal upright freezer is on it's last legs and I want to replace it with a chest model. Do you have any suggestions about size? There is quite a range to choose from (I've been looking for a while!) and I don't want to make a mistake. Any advice would be most welcome.
    Theresa

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    Replies
    1. Theresa I went for the biggest we could afford, 300 litres. I will say it is a generic, I wasn't prepared to pay almost triple the price for a branded freezer. It came with a 12 month warranty, the same as the branded freezers. There are five of us and I buy everything in bulk, grow and freeze most of our vegetables and store a lot of the dry goods we use in the freezer. I ended up with a commercial freezer, complete with lock, and there have been times I've had treats stashed in there and been tempted to lock it - we have fridge and freezer fairies in our house.

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  4. Hi Cath, Thank you so much for this information. I had never considered buying a commercial freezer. Unless the price is competitive, like you, I am not concerned about the product being a branded one. Armed with your feedback I will start my search again. Once I have purchased a new freezer, I'm looking forward to changing over to bulk buying. How exciting!
    Many thanks,
    Theresa

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  5. Thanks so much for your reply Cath. Shame I'm not in Melbourne (I'm a Sydney-sider) or I'd be checking those butchers out for sure. I got inspired on the weekend and had a look around at prices in some of the buthers around my area, but they only worked out to be anywhere between $1 - $5 cheaper per kilo than the supermarkets so nothing near the prices you have listed in your post. I am super jealous! hehe. I think I might just need to keep my eyes are ears open :)
    Jackie xo

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  6. Wow Cath, that is a very good price for meat. We are snookered here in the country (South Australia), with only two butchers in town. They definitely wont be able to match those prices! I am going to take a copy of your list and compare the prices, should be very interesting :)

    xTania

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    Replies
    1. Tania do the butchers in town do their own slaughtering? Are you able to buy a beast and have it slaughtered and butchered? We used to do this before we moved back to Melbourne, and it was about a third the price of buying even bulk meat from the butcher in town. Alternatively do they do sides of beef as bulk buys - the last side I bought cost $5.99/kg cut and packed, not a bad average for mince, steaks, roasts, stewing meat etc.

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  7. Hi Cath, I see these prices are still from 2013. Any chance you could update them to today's prices? i.e. 2016? Winny in Sydney.

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    Replies
    1. The prices are pretty much the same Winny. At the moment I'm buying chicken fillets for $4.99/kg, chicken wings for $1.29/kg. I've noticed mince and roast beef have gone up, I don't buy them anymore. Sausages are $2.99/kg locally. Lamb has gone up, the cheapest I've been able to buy it the last six months is $6.99/kg, it's usually on sale for $7.99/kg. You need to be prepared to shop around and to compare prices to get the best buys.

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