The thought of convenience is powerful.
The best weapon against spending unnecessarily by eating out is having great food in stock at home. But having great food at home can cost money in it’s own right, which is why I’m always on the lookout for great sales at the grocery store. I’ve found a great trick that helps me get great food on sale and keep us from going out to eat on the weekend when the temptation to treat ourselves is the highest.
Saturday is grocery shopping day, and I usually get it done early in the morning before most of the world is up and about. My wife had mentioned that she was in the mood for steak, so we added it to the meal plan for the week. While looking at the steaks, I looked for the various USDA grades of meat:
- Standard Grade : Cuts of meat in this category are usually sold without any grading marker and sold as store brand. They’re usually comparatively inexpensive, but they likely don’t have much marbling and are not uniform.
- Select Grade : These cuts have less marbling, but are uniform. Because they’re usually leaner, they lack the juiciness and flavor of better cuts.
- Choice Grade : Choice cuts are uniform, and have more marbling. They are usually juicy and flavorful, but also more expensive.
- Prime Grade : The highest grade cut of meat, usually found in hotels or restaurants.
Most of the steaks I found were unmarked, thus fell into the category of Standard Grade. At my grocery store there is a section where Choice grade cuts of meat is found, but they usually run about $2 more per pound. However, I noticed that many times on Saturdays I can find Choice Cut steaks on sale for less than the Standard Grade cuts.
Wondering why, I inspected the package closely. I noticed that the “Use or Freeze by” date was the following day. The price was reduced because if the steak hadn’t sold by the next day, they would have to pull it from the shelf and throw it away. I found three good sized New York Strip steaks, all Choice Grade, all on sale for less than standard grade.
It was a great deal, but I had no idea how important that decision would be later in the day.
Vonnie has been extremely busy at her afternoon job, and went in Saturday afternoon to catch up. When I picked her up, we started to discuss dinner plans. After putting in some extra hours on a weekend, she really wanted a great dinner.
She had going out to eat on her mind.
I reminded her that we had some GREAT steaks in the fridge we needed to make that day, or put in the freezer. At first she resisted, but as we talked about it more, she reluctantly agreed. I cooked the steaks to a perfect medium, and paired it with mashed potatoes, corn, and a nice glass of red wine.
She cut into her steak and took a bite. “Ooooh, that’s sooooo good!” We finished our meals, and I put the dishes away, completely satisfied. Not only was the purchase of the reduced price steaks a great deal, but it saved us from going out to eat and unnecessarily overspending on a meal that I ROCKED at home.
Have you ever made a great food purchase that kept you from unnecessarily eating out? Have you ever looked for price-reduced better cuts of meat?