In many households, meat is a mealtime staple. However, it can also be a budget-buster, pushing grocery bill totals up significantly. If you’re struggling to make ends meet or simply want more money available for other purposes, reducing your meat consumption could be your ideal option. If you want to reduce meat consumption to save money and are wondering how effective the strategy is, here’s what you need to know.
How Reducing Meat Consumption Saves Money
Generally speaking, meat is often some of the highest-priced items on a household’s grocery bill. While how much a household would save by reducing meat consumption varies, it’s possible to get a general idea by comparing the cost of various meats with plant-based alternatives.
For example, uncooked ground beef usually costs around $5.05 per pound, while boneless chicken breast typically comes in near $3.50 per pound. Dried beans are closer to $1.45 per pound.
Typically, a serving of meat is just 3 oz., so there’s a bit more than five servings per pounds. That means a single serving of ground beef or boneless chicken breast comes in at about $1.01 and $0.70, respectively.
Comparatively, a one-pound bag of dried beans usually has 10 to 12 servings, depending on the type. That means a single serving of beans would cost closer to $0.12 to $0.14.
If you replaced two chicken breast meals a week with beans, a family of four could save about $233 per year. Replace two ground beef meals with beans instead, and the annual savings is closer to $362. That’s a big difference.
According to the USDA, actual meat consumption averages out far above the recommended guidelines in the US. By simply bringing consumption rates down to the recommended levels, it could result in a cumulative savings of around $180 billion. If everyone went completely meatless, the savings some come in closer to $250 billion.
How to Start Reducing Your Meat Consumption
If you want to start to reduce your meat consumption to save money but aren’t interested in being vegetarian or vegan all of the time, you do have other options. A straightforward way to begin is by going meat-free one day a week. Meatless Mondays are an incredibly popular way to start. You’ll cut back on your meat consumption without feeling deprived during the rest of the week, making it easier to adapt.
After that, you can expand into other days of the week. Going meatless every other day would cut your total meat consumption by approximately half if you previously ate meat consistently.
Alternatively, you could start shrinking your portion sizes. For example, going from a full chicken breast or steak to half of one could reduce your meat consumption by 50 percent every meal, leading to a significant decline in your food spending.
Have you tried to reduce meat consumption to save money? Did you think the approach was effective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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