Live Frugal With Ground Beef?

I know you may be thinking “How in the world can you be frugal with hamburger meat?”.  This is just one category where many of us waste a great deal of money each year. Before I started my frugal living journey, we would end up wasting ground beef on a regular basis.  Let me explain:

When we would go shopping for groceries we would do the typical thing.  Get chicken, lunch meat, ground beef and some other items we would plan on being our main dish for the week.  Most of the time we would at least open the ground beef up and make hamburgers putting the rest back in the fridge “to be used later” for some other meal.  That other meal never came a lot of the time.  We would either decide to go out and eat, didn’t feel like eating meat or one of the kids decided they wanted chicken strips on the night we had planned on eating the meat.  The result?  The ground beef would go in the garbage because it was no longer safe to eat.

In the beginning, when we first started trying to pinch pennies and live more frugal, we would follow the typical things you have seen if you have looked for frugal shopping.  We were now buying the “Value Pack” (5lbs or so) of ground beef and once we opened it up to make chili or burghers we would put the remainder in 1lb freezer bags and put it in the freezer for later use.  This kinda worked, but there was one large problem.  My hat is off to anyone that can make a hamburger patty from thawed meat you have had in the freezer.  It just will not hold together.  So, we were still wasting because we would have 3lbs or so of meat in the freezer, but we wanted hamburgers.  As you probably guessed, we would end up going to the store, buying a smaller package of ground beef (nullifying the savings) and make burgers.

I was discussing this with a friend and they made the most obvious suggestion to me.  I couldn’t belive I had not already thought of it as I am sure you already have.  But… just in case you are like me and it just isn’t clicking, let me explain what we do now and I am proud to say that we are no longer wasting ground beef.  We only buy it when it goes on sale and I feel like I have a solid win in this small category of frugal living.

1. We watch the papers for ground beef to go on sale.  If you have a Kroger in your area they will put it on sale at least once a month for a very good price, but they put a limit of 5lbs.  We have found that they do not usually enforce this issue.  If you tell them you would like 10lbs and it is not for resale they have always sold it to us.

2. Ok, so we have the meat… now it is type to prepare it for later use.  What are we going to do with all this meat?  We are going to make hamburger patties out of it… All of it.  We have a family of four and I am usually the only one that eats more than one burger when we grill out.  That said,  I put groups of 5 patties together separating them by wax paper.  Once I have 5 patties, I wrap them up nice and tight with the clear freezer paper and put them away.  I will do this with all of the meat.

3. Now my problems are solved… If we want hamburgers, I can just take a stack out of the freezer… thaw them out and on the grill they go.  If my wife wants to make chili or sloppy Joe’s and only needs 2 patties, she will take a stack from the freezer and put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds (just thaw enough so you can break them apart), wrap back up the extras and put them in the freezer.  See, it is so simple.  Once you have them frozen in patties you are able to cook anything with them, but saving it in gallon bags in 1lb quantities really limits you.

This method of being frugal with ground beef also saves time.  Give it a try if you don’t do this already the next time you buy beef.  Your meat will be fresh, your patties will already be made and the only thing you have to do is thaw and cook them.