Editors Note: With March coming to an end soon, it's time to close the book on the Top 10 budget food tips of 2010 and move on to something new. Look forward to some great new recipes and tips in the near future from your Hattiesburg Budget Meals Examiner. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on topics you'd like to see (reviews of local stores, interviews of local chefs, etc.) or kitchen and/or budget questions for me, please feel free to email me. Until then, enjoy this final budget food tip of the series.
With grocery costs soaring and meat costs making a dent in your pocketbook, stay calm. Don't do anything rash, like empty the savings account to purchase a farm and grow your own beef. Instead, find a friend with the same problem and form a team! In our area, there are a number of local butcher shops that offer freezer specials. Between Gourmet Butcher on Hwy. 98, Lil' Butcher Shoppe on Broadway Drive and the Downtown Butcher off Central Avenue in Petal, every area has a butcher shop to call their own and freezer specials galore. Put your money together and purchase one of these specials, splitting the costs and the meat proportionately. This will save you money in the long run and help stock your freezer to prevent last minute pizza emergencies (though there are some great deals to be had on pizza right now).
Another source you may want to check out is with your local farmers and farmer's markets. From here you may find a great resource for purchasing large quantities of beef or chicken at a lower rate than at the butcher shop. Of course, you may need to call in an extra friend or two to avoid having to purchase another freezer, but this option is worthwhile and worth the savings if you are able to find the means and resources.
Interested in grass-fed beef? Check with New Yokel Market in downtown Hattiesburg. They offer tons of organic goods, from foods to hygiene items, and may be able to meet your needs in that area as well.
No matter your method, keep in mind that buying in bulk and splitting the savings with a friend is the best, easiest way to save money; no coupon clipping necessary!