16 April 2020

Happiness Homemade: A Quarterly Meat Shop During a Coronavirus Crisis

Yesterday I did my quarterly meat shop.

It was a bit late. I was due to do it at the end of March, but due to the lockdown and the stay-at-home restrictions I chose to put it off.

The freezers were still quite full, so we weren't running out of food, but chicken and mince were getting low, and as they are staples in our home, it was time to tackle the butcher.

Wow! I was shocked at the prices. Meat has gone up on average for the cuts I buy, 50% in three months! Last time I bought mince it was $5.99/kg on special. Yesterday it was $9.99/kg on special. Sausages were $3.99/kg last time, yesterday they were $7.49/kg. I didn't even stop at the steak fridge - nudging $20/kg puts even the cheapest (yesterday) cuts out of my budget. And roast - nope, none in my trolley.

I spent $157 and here's what I picked up. You'll see lots were marked down already. I always look for the mark downs and buy them. Even if they're right on the best before date, I vacuum seal and freeze all our meat so it doesn't matter and saves a lot of money.
I was disappointed that there were no roasts in this shop, but they were so expensive. Even working my stretching to three meals tricks they were still way too expensive. We will still have roast dinners, with the chicken drumsticks and plenty of veggies, just no roast beef or my favourite roast lamb.

The mince will make pasta sauce, lasagne, rissoles, meat loaf, meat balls and tacos. All these will have added oats, rice, TVP or beans to stretch the mince.

The scraps from the stewing meat and chicken fillets will go into soup pots. Soup is great for stretching a little meat or chicken to feed a lot of people.

The one packet of stewing meat will make a casserole - maybe Aunty Mary's Beef Casserole - or a curry.

The chicken fillets will make schnitzels, curry, apricot chicken, chicken enchiladas, crumbed chicken etc.

Portion control will be vital to keep to budget. And stretching the mince will be important too. The pantry has plenty of rice, oats and TVP, and the fridge and freezer have plenty of veggies that will be used to bulk out the mince.

After all this was portioned and packaged it gave me enough for 36 dinners. The cost per dinner is $4.36, under my $5 per meal meat budget.  I'll aim to make at least six serves from each one, bringing the portion price down to 72 cents per portion.
Meat and chicken, portioned and vacuumed sealed ready for the freezer
This gives me six weeks of meals, having five with chicken or meat and two meatless meals a week.

So even with the huge price increases, the meat shop came in under budget. Not the cuts I usually buy, but enough for six weeks of meals, having five with chicken or meat and two meatless meals a week. Not enough for 3 months, but enough to fill the freezers and give me wriggle room to keep an eye on specials and top-up over the next few weeks if I can.

Where did I get this meat shop? Australian Butcher in Boronia.


  1. Love all your posts. I have been reading on a post on 9News on facebook, about the peoson wanting to get a refund on the toilet paper and sanitizer. I posted how thanks to your group and encouragement, I have a working stockpile that allowed us not to have to shop for 5 weeks so far. BOY was I hammered as being greedy and disgusting etc. Stupid people like them dont realise the wisdom of what you do and how it has save many of us from disaster.
    Keep up the great work. Take care and see you next week.
    Kerry McKenzie

    1. I'm sorry that happened Kerry. Sometimes I think people react negatively out of fear, because they aren't prepared for even a 24 hour bug, let alone a major disaster. And then the snarky side of me thinks they're just jealous because we put the effort in to be prepared while they didn't, and now they're in trouble. We aren't the problem. I use every single thing I buy - nothing gets wasted, and I don't buy stuff we don't need, use or want. When I saw the story about the silly man with the hand sanitiser and 5,000 toilet rolls I wondered if he was trying to return them because his CC bill had come in and he couldn't pay it :)

  2. I'm a new reader, I found you from Abundant Cottage Adventures.
    I have no idea how the monetary rates compare to American currency but it sure sounded expensive.
    This evening we picked up the 1/2 of a hog we bought from my Farmer's coworker (he works off the farm at a factory days and farms evenings and weekends.) He had it butchered for us. We got some ribs, the better chops, the better roasts and the rest made into bulk sausage for patties. We only like store-bought bacon and ham. The friend who deer hunts on our land gives us a case (24 1# packages) of good bacon every year, as a thank you gift. I only get hams at Easter, when it is on sale and freeze the extras to use sparingly all year.
    We will be taking a steer to be butchered in July for ourselves and our sons. And I hope I can still get in on a friend's organic chicken order. She raises them for meat and sells them 4 times a year. I have some left from last September (get 12 two or three times a summer) but I'll need more for this year. I just don't know if I have the freezer room I have 2 large freezers and atop the fridge.
    I know this sounds like a lot but we supply our son that lives locally and when our son who lives in another state, comes for a visit, we fill his coolers to take home. I never buy beef, chicken and un-cured pork in the store. If we run out, we do without.
    Looking forward to more of your posts.
    Kay in Nebraska (middle of USA)

    1. Welcome Kay, it's nice to meet you. Nebraska is on our bucket list to visit, along with Wyoming, Kansas and Ohio - no idea why we picked those states but we did years ago, so they're on the list. Sometimes our prices are better than US prices, even with the conversion. When I see prices on US blogs I automatically do the conversion, then do the dollar conversion and am often happy with the result. But at the moment, meat here is very expensive to what it has been. Good buy on the hog, especially getting the better cuts of meat. I wish we could not buy meat - that woudl sure put a smile on my face :) I buy 26 whole chickens, 13 pieces of roasting beef and 13 legs of lamb each year - although that may change with the prices I'm seeing. We have a roast every Sunday night - it's family night, no one dare miss Sunday dinner unless they're out of state, and I use the leftovers to make at least one other meal and then stock or soup, otherwise I'd be rethinking the roasts too. We're like you - if we run out of something before shopping day, we do without.


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