The rising prices can be attributed to smaller herds, which are the smallest in the US since 1951, and growing export demand from countries like China and Japan. The average price for a pound of fresh beef reached $5.28 per pound in February. That price is almost a quarter more than it was the previous month, and the highest price for beef since 1987.
There is no immediate sign that prices will decline in the near future. Many ranchers have decreased the number of head in their herds due to drought and high feed prices. It will take several years for these ranchers to increase their herds, and beef prices will remain high until they are able to do so.
For those hoping to save money when barbecuing by switching to other meats, they may not find the savings that they hope to. Pork prices have also increased due to a virus I break that has killed millions of piglets. Chicken prices are also on the rise. Chicken came in at $1.95 per pound in February, the highest price since October 2013.
What does this all mean for those who are getting ready for the barbecue season? They’re going to have to use a bit of creativity, and look for savings wherever they can, in order to grill without breaking their budget. Here are a few ways that you can save money as the grilling season starts.
Grill More Vegetables
With the prices as high as they are, make sure to grab large quantities of vegetables to place beside the meat that you will be grilling. Vegetable prices aren’t expected to be as high as meat prices, and these can help supplement the food that you are grilling during the summer months. Some great vegetables to grill are asparagus, corn, onions, zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes and eggplant.
Many people don’t realize this, but there are grocery store coupons for meat. You just need to know where to find them. Most meat coupons are found on other barbecue items. For example, if you are buying charcoal for your grill, there might be a coupon for a couple dollars off of meat if you buy several bags. Another popular place to find meat coupons is in conjunction with beer or other alcohol. By looking for coupons for meat on other things that you will need during the grilling season, you may be able to reduce the cost of the meat that you do buy.
Avoid Prepared Meats
Avoid meats that have already been partially prepared. Pre-made hamburger patties are drastically more expensive than ground beef. Meats that have already been marinated will be more expensive than the same cuts that haven’t. Purchasing your meats without any extras will keep the price of them down.
Avoid BBQ Kits
Another way to save money is to avoid buying BBQ kits. There are plenty of kits out there for your grill or your food, but many of these kits are a waste of money. They provide expensive rubs or spices you could make at home, or they contain tools and gadgets that you don’t really need.
Make Your Own Rubs and Sauces
Grocery stores love trying to market their premium rubs and sauces when barbecue season rolls around. Many of these rubs and sauces are made from items that most people can find in their own kitchens. Instead of wasting $5 on a bottle of sauce, try making your own sauces or rubs for your meats. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to make, search for recipes online. There are more than enough of them, so you’ll probably be able to find something you like.
(Photo courtesy of generalising)
Like Saving Advice? Subscribe!
Subscribe to get the latest Saving Advice content via email.