The good ‘ole Standard American Diet. Sugary, processed foods. Filled with artificial sweeteners to keep you coming back for more. When I was an adherent to the average American way of eating, I spent an absolute boatload of money on food. The monthly grocery budget was off the charts. Our capitalistic, free market system has lead to the abundance of cheap, processed grub at the expense of our health. So how did I spent a boatload of money on food if the food was cheap?
It’s because I wasn’t satiated at all. Shoving carby snacks down my gullet in between meals was an addiction. My body craved a blood sugar spike every few hours if I didn’t eat anything, and this is the reason why I ended up spending so much money to eat every day.
At first, starting a carnivore diet seemed like I would even spend more money. I thought I’d have to be eating expensive steak for every meal to receive the optimal nutrition I needed. Little did I know that with this lifestyle, one meal a day would satisfy me until the next. This freed up so much time in my life. No longer did I have to plan my day around eating food, and only having to pay for one meal a day made my grocery budget significantly smaller.
After nearly ten months of living a carnivore life, I have some tips for you fellas to save money on your grocery bill.
1. BUY CHEAPER CUTS
If you can’t give up steak for a little bit, check out the cheaper cuts next time you’re in the grocery store. You don’t need to eat a ribeye every day. Be on the lookout for beef short ribs, top round steaks, flank steaks, and sirloin steaks. While it may be true that you’ll be sacrificing some tenderness and flavor, this is your opportunity to get creative!
Break out the meat tenderizer and give your meat a good whackin’. This will soften the muscle fibers and make your meat easier to eat and digest. If you’ve got a tougher cut of steak, a little meat mallet action will improve it with little effort. You can also buy meat tenderizer in powder form.
This type of meat tenderizer works by using enzymes to break down the meat fibers.
Don’t forget the spice rubs, either! If you’re anything like me, you’ll buy a particular spice rub or seasoning that looks interesting, use it once, and throw it in the cupboard to be forgotten about until you see another tasty-looking blend the next day. I probably have 20-30 different spice + blend combinations available to me at all times, and when I want to add value to a sirloin, this is how I do it.
2. BUY WHAT’S ON SALE
Lots of grocery stores have a weekly ad. I get like four different weekly ads mailed to me each week, and then I decide where I’ll be doing my shopping, depending on who’s got the best deals.
Cut costs big time by buying ground beef on sale in lieu of your steaks. But if you want to really bare down and save some money, go on a no-beef challenge. Try to do a week where maybe you live off chicken and pork instead. My favorite grocery store, Hy-Vee, often has ridiculously cheap pork prices. Today, for example, I bought these bomb-ass, thick-cut pork chops for $1.49/lb.
When you see a price that spectacular, you obviously need to take advantage.
Chicken is also so damn cheap I sometimes can’t believe the price I’m getting. Thighs for $.78/lb, drumsticks for $.99/lb, etc. Whenever breasts go on sale I stock up and utilize my freezer. Pro tip: season some cut up chicken breast with cayenne pepper and sear it with a buttery skillet. Spicy, buttery chicken is to die for.
3. MAKE A PLAN WITH ONLINE COMPARISON SHOPPING
We’re in an interesting stage where brick and mortar retail is beginning to die out with the rise of e-commerce. As consumers, there’s never been a more convenient time to do our grocery shopping, as these dying retailers are doing everything they can to keep business in their stores. Walmart, for example, is now offering free grocery pick up. Most grocery chains are nowadays, so hop online and see what deals they have!
Mobile apps such as Shipt and Instacart allow you to browse grocery prices from all your nearby stores, so you can compare, shop, and get it delivered all in the palm of your hand. That kind of productivity while sitting on the couch is pretty amazing!
I also can recommend the website MyGroceryDeals.com. The main page will ask you what item you’re looking for and what ZIP code you’re in.
All you have to do is then click the “Find Deals” button.
It will immediately return a result page that looks like this. Looks like it searched 16 nearby grocery stores and returned 7 deals for on-sale ground beef. #SWAG. You can use this website to always get the cheapest price of whatever you’re looking for.
Many retailers will have rewards programs or loyalty cards that are 100% free that provide certain discounts when scanned at the register. I definitely recommend signing up for all of the ones that cost you nothing. Getting those exclusive deals reserved for members only will help you keep a bit more of your cash!
Always remember wholesale stores too! Costco and Sam’s Club routinely get praise from members of the carnivore and keto communities. Check out the gnarly Costco deals some people have received: https://www.reddit.com/r/zerocarb/search/?q=costco&restrict_sr=1 .
Unfortunately, Costco steaks are blade-tenderized, which means that bacteria gets pushed into the steak with needles, so it’s recommended that you cook until it’s well-done (160 degrees) in order to ensure safety. Lame! Still though, they have some crazy deals that aren’t to be missed!
4. EGG IT UP
Eggs are a nutritional super food. In fact, I plan to do a week-long all-egg diet in and do a field report on this blog. A tremendous source of fat, protein, and cholesterol. Mmmmmmm.
Not only are they nutritious, but they taste incredible, are extremely cheap, and there are a seemingly infinite number of ways to prepare them.
Hard boil, soft boil, scramble, sunny side up, over easy, over medium, over hard, omelet, poached, baked, basted, you name it. If you ever get bored, reference this video on the insane number of methods there is to cooking eggs.
I absolutely do not fuck around when it comes to my eggs. I eat them just about every day. If I see a dozen eggs on sale for $.77, that’s my dinner that night. Just like it was yesterday.
Don’t recoil in horror. Remember, cholesterol is good for you. Also, this is only 840 calories! Eggs go a long way!
5. BUY DIRECTLY FROM A BUTCHER/FARM
Now I have never done this, but I really want to. Some folks on the /r/ZeroCarb subreddit are able to make a connection with a local farmer, and they’ll end up buying a half-cow or quarter-cow for a frickin’ sweet low cost.
He also included the invoice:
$5.50/lb for grass fed AND grass finished beef? That’s like less than half of what you would pay at the supermarket. Buying in bulk definitely has advantages!
EatWild.com has an index of over 1400 farms that you can directly buy meat, eggs, and dairy from! You can simply click on the state you live in, and BAM! Hella farms to suit your carnivory needs.
I hope this article gave you the tools and wisdom necessary to be a frugal carnivore. It is important to spread this knowledge to let people know that the healthiest diet is not even close to the most expensive!
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Here are some of my other articles which chronicle the extensive benefits of an all-meat diet: