Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Have You Payed for Meat Lately?

This post is only applicable for those who live in the 48 continental United States.
Have you noticed how much the price of meat is skyrocketing? I honestly don't know how people can afford to buy it at the grocery store! We have been told in the news lately that the supply of beef cattle is quite low here in US. This started last summer because of the cost of feed. I am sure the record drought out west isn't helping either. This situation isn't going to get better anytime soon.

Times like this really test our ability to be frugal. We need to stretch our food dollars further than we ever have before. This is where having food storage is a big help! When you have food storage, you don't need to purchase replacement items until they go on sale. Personally, I think of food storage as an investment. It really helps you plan ahead to save both time and money!

While most people think of dry, shelf stable goods when they think of food storage, I consider the food in my freezer part of my food storage program as well. The difference is, food in the freezer requires a plan in place to deal with it should you ever lose power for a significant amount of time. I accept that and have a plan to can most of my meat if I loose power. (Of course if you lose power in the winter, this is not a problem.)

This type of thinking allows me to take advantage of huge savings by purchasing my meat in bulk. When I started doing this a few years ago, I thought purchasing in bulk was a lot of meat to buy at one time. I don't any more! Buying in bulk allows me to skip the meat section at the grocery store entirely! No longer do I pay retail prices!  

So what exactly do I do? I purchase my meat from Zaycon Foods.

The idea behind Zaycon Foods is that you order meat over the Internet and the company delivers FRESH (never frozen) meat to a local pickup point in your area. You meet the truck in the parking lot and pick up your order. It is fast and easy - you don't even have to get out of the car. The nice people at Zaycon Foods will load it for you!

The order process is very easy. You start by signing up to receive emails from the company. When they have a delivery scheduled for your area, you will get an email. Usually you have some time to decide if you want to place an order. The company tends to give about a months noticed before the truck will arrive in your area.  If you're not interested, you are under no obligation to purchase anything! By signing up, you simply gain access to emails notifying you when they will be in your area and what will be available.

At first, you may find the minimum amount you much purchase way too much for your family. That is ok! You can always split an order with some friends or family members. That is what I did when I first started ordering. Now, I usually take 1 or 2 cases of meat just for us! 

It is helpful to have a stand alone freezer. You can find small stand alone freezers in the club warehouses for reasonable prices. Believe me, you can pay for that freezer in a very short time when you purchase meat in bulk!

At the beginning of February, I purchased 40 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.89 a pound. Today, I signed up to purchase 40 lbs. of extra lean (93/7) fresh ground beef for $3.99 a pound. While I don't think of that price as a 'sale' price, ground beef in my area is running at about $4.50 a lb. AND that is for 80/20 beef! I purchased 93/7 beef!

I usually divide the meat into dinner size portions. Then, I wrap it in freezer paper and seal it in a foodsaver bag. It keeps the meat from getting that 'freezer burned' flavor and will last in the freezer for well over one year. Just the other day, we ate some ground beef that I purchased from Zaycon Foods in December of 2012. It was great! I don't have too much left so the order of 40 more pounds will come just in time to restock my freezer! I pick it up at the beginning of April.

Depending on where you live, you can purchase more than just chicken and ground beef. Zaycon Foods also offers the following:
  • Fresh Premium Hickory Smoked Bacon
  • Pork Sausage Links
  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Natural Non-Homogenized Whole Milk
  • Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey Breast Roast
  • Orchard Peaches
  • Raw Wildflower Honey
  • Smoked Pulled Pork
  • Premium Choice Angus Sirloin Steaks
If I lived closer to the North West, I would purchase peaches and milk too. Unfortunately, they are not offered where I live (at least not right now). Next time it is offered near me, I am getting some honey and sirloin steaks! 

Everything I have purchased from Zaycon Foods is high quality! It tastes great and is hormone free. The ground beef is grass-fed beef too! Try buying grass-fed beef at a specialty supermarket and I guarantee you won't get it for $3.99 a lb!

I have been so pleased with my experiences with this company that I just had to share! It is a great way to buy superior cuts of meat at a low cost!

Now that's frugal!

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