Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saving Money on Meat and Poultry | Kitchen Economics

Meat and poultry are usually the most expensive items on my grocery list. We eat mostly poultry and I only buy it when it is on sale. I stock up if the price is exceptionally good, like the $1.59/lb chicken breasts a few months ago. A price like that happens rarely though, so I don't stock the freezer with a lot of poultry, because the normal sale rotation of it is fairly frequent.

The best bargains that I have found from the meat department comes in the form of a yellow sticker.

What do the yellow stickers mean? All meat has a 'sell by date' and when that date is within a day or two, my grocery store marks it down. The prices are usually much better than the best sale price on the item.

My first experience with the yellow stickers was several years ago when I came across a case full of Perdue whole chickens marked down to $2.00. These were 5-6 lb chickens that are normally around $7.00.

Confused, I asked the meat manager why they were so cheap and he explained to me that they were close to their expiration date. There was nothing wrong with the chickens as long as I used them immediately or put them in the freezer. I think I bought 5 chickens that day.

I have never had a bad experience buying marked down meat. Although, if the meat would look off color, I would pass on the deal and maybe even show it to the meat manager.

Ask your meat manager when they mark down their products. My store does it in the early mornings. I am not able to get to the store too early in the mornings, so I suspect I miss out on many good deals, but I always look for the yellow stickers every time I'm in the store even if meat isn't on my grocery list.

A marked down deal can be even sweeter if you happen to have coupons on the product. I had a 50 cent coupon on Nature's Promise products that I used on the marked down natural chicken below.

Next time you are in the meat department in the grocery store, keep an eye open for the clearance stickers and hopefully you will find some good bargains too.

Do you buy marked down meat? Or does the thought turn you off? Please let us know in the comment section.

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This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.


  1. We try to buy only organic meats, but even they are marked down when nearing expiration. I got a bunch of pork chops and pork roast one day for half price because they were expiring the next day. We freeze almost all the meat we buy anyway, so I love finding the yellow stickers.

  2. I do! My butcher marks things down a day before of day of the use by date. A lot of times, that determines what we are eating for dinner that night :)

  3. I have bought plenty of marked down meats. As long as they look good. In fact, one day I was perusing the choices and the man next to me said he also bought marked down meat often. He then remarked that he was a chef by trade and the meat was just fine as long as cooked immediately or frozen, as you mentioned.

  4. There are some meats that are just cheap in general. You can usually find pork shoulder and whole chicken for a good price. Plus you can use the bones to make stock.

  5. Until I watched Food, Inc. I had no problems buying marked down meat.

    I found though, that it was usually cheaper just to buy it as a loss leader item.

    Now I buy from the local farmer so it's not ever marked down.

  6. I don't but marked down meat anymore because I got food poisoning from a package of marked down ground beef - now I am ridiculously picky about the ground beef I eat. While I know that this was probably a freak thing, I can't bring myself to buy it anymore.


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