One of the best financial decisions we’ve made was to buy a deep freezer. I frequently double or triple a recipe we’re having for dinner and freeze the extra for days when I don’t feel like cooking. Thawing a pre-made home cooked meal is cheaper and likely healthier than eating out. We had given ourselves a restaurant/entertainment allowance each month, but most of the time we don’t spend the full allowance because there are rare occasions when we can’t find something good to eat in the house (is anyone else guilty of opening the fridge 3-5 times hoping something you actually want will appear?).
Now that we’ve owned our freezer for over a year and have been through all four seasons in Michigan, I’m confident with predicting what and how much we can fit in our deep freezer. Since we don’t buy any processed foods, that saves us room for plenty of produce, homemade banana bread, my breast-milk stockpile, and quality meat. Thanks to a quick question posted on Facebook I was able to get a list of local farms that offer shares of beef. I could easily do a quick Google search to find where these farms are, but the referral of a friend who has tried the product carries a lot of weight in my book. We narrowed our options down to a farm about 20 minutes away. Since my husband and I have a 7 cubic foot chest freezer, there’s just no way we’d get a full or a half cow. You’ll find that the price per pound goes down the bigger share you get so we asked around to see if any friends wanted to split the cost of a quarter share.
Why You Should Buy a Side of Beef
If you haven’t given much thought to buying a side of beef, consider the following advantages:
1. Voting with your dollar
Did you see that McDonalds and Costco just announced that they will no longer sell chicken raised with antibiotics? Our concerns are being heard, folks! We can blog, tweet, and Yelp all we want but the real voting comes from our spending. Buying a side of beef allows you to cut out the middle man and buy your meat directly from the source.
2. Know what you’re putting in your mouth
There are loopholes in every claim you see on a package. You may need to brush up on your label-reading knowledge if you don’t know what the actual definition of claims like “light” or “low fat” is. Did you know the term “natural” on a package means NOTHING? There’s literally no legal definition behind the term so companies slap it on their earthy-colored packaging to make you think it’s a healthier choice. Buying a side of beef takes the guess work out and you are told exactly what went in to your cow’s mouth.
Also, I recently saw a package of grass-fed beef that was $6.99/pound and the meat was sourced from the US and Uraguay. How about I pay less for a cow that lives 20 miles down the road instead?
Have you tried grass-fed beef? If not do a side-by-side taste test of store-bought beef and grass-fed beef cooked without any seasoning. In addition to the cow’s diet that adds a unique flavor component, meat purchased from a local source is usually aged longer than store-bought so the flavors are more dynamic. You’ll be savoring each bite and won’t want to go back to cheap meat.
4. Supporting local business
Shaking the hand of the person who prepared your food makes me feel confident that I am nourishing my family right.
5. Fewer grocery store trips
When your freezer is full of meat then that just leaves pantry staples and produce for your grocery list. That makes for a simple grocery trip, right? I appreciate short grocery trips since I always have a toddler in-tow.
6. Meal planning made easy
Something super helpful I’ve done is keep a list on the side of my fridge that has the quantity of each cut of meat we have in the freezer. You don’t have to have beef for dinner every night, of course, but it does make life easy when you look at your weekly menu and know to pull out a pound of ground beef the night before so you’re one step closer to taco night. Pot roast planned for Sunday? I’ll pull it out of the freezer a couple days ahead of time so it will be ready for the crock pot.
7. Freezer packaging
Most of the time you’ll find that buying a bigger package of meat is cheaper per ounce. However, that purchase comes with a little extra effort since you have to portion it out and freeze what you aren’t going to use right away. Most of the time I just used a Ziploc freezer bag which doesn’t do the best job keeping the frost out. When you buy a side of beef, get every single cut packaged well for a freezer so there’s no need to repack the meat.
I’ll admit, there are a few factors that initially intimidated me with buying a side of beef:
- paying a large sum upfront
- learning how to cook certain cuts of meat
- learning how to organize it well in my freezer.
While they are valid factors to consider, and buying a side of beef does take some planning and thought, hopefully my list of advantages will help you see why you should buy a side of beef.
What factors helped you decide to buy a side of beef? What factors keep you from buying a side of beef?
This post has been written by Jessica from BudgetForHealth.com.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.