Budget Stretching with Cheap Bastid

If you’re like me, you’ve been scratching your head for a couple of years wondering how long it’s going to be before you wake up one day to discover that you are now a vegetarian.  Not because you happen to prefer vegetables over meat but because you can no longer afford meat.

Isn’t that kind of scary!  So today, I’m going to invite you to do some budget stretching with Cheap Bastid.

You have to shop like crazy anymore to find ground beef for as low as $3 a pound.  Bacon has gone from $1.99 a pound to $5 a pound or more in a lot of places

We find ourselves eating smaller portions of meat and cooking meals where a chunk-o-beef isn’t the star but rather where meat is a part of a dish.  Kind of like Clara Peller in the old Wendy’s commercial saying “Where’s the beef?”

And before some goodie two-shoe out there says something like, “you’re better off not eating meat” I just want to say that we are dedicated, life-long carnivores who would rather gnaw cooked flesh than raw carrots or yummy tofu.

Bacon and Pepperoni

For a while now we’ve been buying our pepperoni supply at Smart and Final.  I can get 3 lbs. of pepperoni, already sliced for about $10.  Now that’s not too bad for pepperoni.  And, I use about a quarter pound of pepperoni on a full size pizza.

So we went on a pepperoni run today at Smart and Final.  We cruised down the prepared meat refrigerator case and I saw something that made me put on the brakes.  They had a 3 lb. package of bacon ends and pieces for $6.  That’s $2 a pound.  When’s the last time you saw bacon for $2 a pound?  Even ends and pieces.  I remember about 3 years ago when the meat manager at our local Stater Brothers told me that he only buys ends and pieces because the “good stuff” was just too pricey.  And it was $2 a pound then!

So I grabbed a package of it.  And we instantly changed our dinner plans from plain old “Sketti” to Mrs. CB’s favorite “Spaghetti AbbaZabba” (what the rest of us call Spaghetti Carbonara).

I spent $16 on 6 pounds of meat.  And, as I have done many times in the past, when I got home I spent about 10 minutes  breaking it down into smaller packages that I can put into the freezer until we need it.

Bacon and Pepperoni Packaged

I got 3 bags, 12 ounces each of bacon slices and 2 bags 6 ounces each of pieces (that’s what you need for Spaghetti AbbaZabba is pieces).   That’s a total of 5 bags.  Plus I got a dozen 4 ounce bags of sliced pepperoni for pizza, salads or however else we want to use it—that’s about 4 dozen slices per bag.

So I had to shell out $16 but we’ve got plenty of pepperoni and bacon for a while.  I’m looking forward to BLT’s and bacon and eggs.  And all we had to do was 2 things—a bit of shopping and a few minutes to re-package into serving size freezer bags.

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way:  Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

About Walter Blevins

My wife started to call me Cheap Bastid a while back because I enjoyed coming up with dinners that cost next to nothing--and making them taste good. Yeah, I love to cook. And I love to cook good food cheap. I'm not a chef and I'm definitely not anything close to a gourmet. I'm just a home cook who grew up in a home where cooking was from scratch and was a little bit Midwest and a little bit country. That's because my Mom was from Michigan and my Dad was from Kentucky. I started sharing recipes when my daughter called me in 2006 and asked for my recipe for Swiss Steak. That year for Christmas I put together a cookbook for my 2 kids called "Dad's Everyday Cookbook and Kitchen Survival Guide". And I heard back that they both use it regularly. It was full of basic recipes that I had cooked for them when they were growing up. I work hard at creating recipes that are original and creative and inexpensive. You won't find a foo-foo foodie approach to my recipes and style. I believe that it's OK for food to go up the side of a plate. Food is for eating--it doesn't have to be pretty. And I write about my cooking and my recipes so that I can share them. I hope you enjoy these posts. Leave me a comment--that you liked something or that you didn't, it doesn't matter. I'd love to hear from you.
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5 Responses to Budget Stretching with Cheap Bastid

  1. RubeRad says:

    Good tips; I have yet to check out Poway’s new Smart&Final, but I have found that Costco meat is generally more expensive (and more luxury/gourmet) than regular grocery stores. Like their tri tip is regularly I dunno, $5.99/lb, and if they put 10c worth of spice rub on it, they mark it up to $7.99/lb and call it a special. I’ve gotten tri tip on sale from Stater Bros for I think $3.49/lb, it looks a little sadder, but when cooked is just as good!

    If you haven’t yet you should check out the Grocery Outlet on Poway Rd next to Michael’s. I got a 48oz pkg of uncured bacon there for $5, and not just ends/pieces. And I figured out that uncured doesn’t mean “not cured”, it just means cured with natural ingredients instead of chemicals; it’s still bacon, tastes exactly the same.

    • Walter Blevins says:

      I go to Grocery Outlet in Oceanside which is only 3 miles from where I live. Last week I got Hillshire Brat patties for $2.50/lb and Oscar Meyer deli style turkey lunch meat for $2.49/lb. And I’m glad you’ve found similar ways to be “frugal”. It definitely takes more work these days.

  2. Jimmy Buth says:

    Corned beef in foil, on grill. DELISH.
    Followed recipe. Dusted with garlic powder and 6 pepper seasoning.
    Grilled for 45 – 50 minutes on medium heat.
    NEVER COOK CORNED BEEF ANY OTHER WAY!
    Thank you!!!!

  3. Kristen says:

    Bacon has gotten absolutely outrageous! The price hike seemingly came out of nowhere too! It lasts me quite a while because I never sit down and eat a slice of bacon, it’s more of a flavoring agent for me, but even still. Good grief! The freezer is definitely my friend when it comes to bacon though. Great money-saving tips!

  4. Rae says:

    We buy big packages of bacon ends and pieces, too. Makes great flavoring for a crockpot of beans–which are also pretty frugal!

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