Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reader Shares: Very Frugal Turkey Breast and Ham

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Image credit- Gualberto107; freedigitalphotos.com
I got this email from a reader today, and I really loved what she did, so I asked her if she'd mind if I'd post it on my blog so you can benefit from it as well. She was happy for me to share. Hope you enjoy it!

Hi there,
My name is Amanda. I am an avid reader and frugal divorced mom of three in Oregon. With one small paycheck and three kids under 10 years old, it can be a challenge. We have a shopping budget of about $250 a month (food, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.). I stockpile things on sale using coupons, and I always have an eye out for deals, especially on meat. I try not to buy meat unless it is $.99/lb or less (clearance, coupons, holiday meat sales like pork roast, shank ham, whole turkey, and hot dogs). I did some frugal kitchen experiments the other day and thought you might be interested in the result.

Cheap Turkey Breast:
Do you remember that 99 cent/lb deal on whole turkey breast at Safeway a few weeks back? Well, although higher than the cost of a whole turkey sold for 69 cents/lb, I thought it might actually be the better deal due less work deboning it and less waste...no heavy bones, hardly any tendons, etc. I also thought that even with fat and bone in a whole turkey breast, that the price after removing the meat might still beat the price of boneless/skinless chicken breast.

After cutting the meat away and weighing the results, a 6 lb turkey breast yielded:
3.8 lbs of high quality meat
2 lbs of bones/fat, injected liquid, and a small 8 oz turkey gravy packet hidden in the interior
-So the average 6 lb turkey breast is 63% meat plus a good set of bones worth about 4 cans of broth.

How much did I save?
Frugal Math: 3.8 lbs of boneless breast meat / $5.94 price of whole breast = $1.56 per lb.
-If you subtract the value of the broth bones as 50 cents x 4 "cans" worth of broth= $2 of broth, then the cost of the boneless meat goes down to: 3.8 lbs meat/$5.94 - $2.00 broth=  $1.04/lb
Boneless, skinless breast meat for $1.04/lb!!!!

I only regret that I bought so few.....definitely a stock up item at that price from now on out.
Note: Deboning the breast and removing the fat took 5-10 minutes tops. Skill level: easy

PS: I cubed the breast meat and rolled the pieces in a box of $1.79 Panko crumbs from Winco. Now I have 4 lbs of nuggets frozen individually in a couple ziploc bags in the freezer. Perfect for healthy, quick meals for my kids...the nugget cost math works out to: $3.94 + $1.79= $5.73 (1.43/lb). The activity took half an hour max.

This beats my pantry price point for stocking up on chicken nuggets :-)

--------------------- On to ham

Cheap Ham:
Today I saw hams (half-shank hickory-smoked, fully cooked) on clearance sale at Safeway for $.99/lb. I'd always wondered if the meat was still a great price when you factored in the bones and waste, so I decided to experiment today.

I splurged and bought a $20 (20.36 lb) ham and took it home to slice into lunch meat. After deboning the ham, I had 16 lbs of ham and 4 lbs of waste (plastic packaging, bones, and pure fat...which could be used for broth and a little soap making I suppose). The frugal math cost of the "deli style" sliced ham was $1.28/lb! Love it!

---just wanted to share with someone on my wavelength. Hope you are having a great day.
Good job Amanda! I love hearing about different ways people figure out how to save, especially when it wasn't too much work!

Round of applause for Amanda!

Anyone been inspired to do something frugal lately that they want to share? 
Have you ever done similarly to Amanda?


  1. never did get why people on tight budgets have pets. money sink, food sink, time sink, and they don't usually earn anything.

    1. It can be for various reasons. Could be they had the pet before they were tight on cash, and they didn't just chuck away the animal because of their financial circumstances changing. It could be they inherited a pet from a family member. It could be for emotional reasons- pets help a lot with loneliness. It could be for educational purposes- it teaches kids responsibility, etc... And some pets do earn money- like our chickens we had in our old apartment gave us eggs.

    2. Our dog doesn't earn anything, but he keeps deer, coyote and other wildlife off the property. And he's an alarm to let us know if anyone is coming. The cats eat mice, which all alone makes their worth their feed. I hated when we lived in apartments that did not allow cats, because they always "allowed" mice!

      Anyway, yes, yes, yes, buying whole ham and turkey, and cutting it at home saves a lot of money. Our dog and cats are great at eating up all of that "waste", too.

    3. My pets cost max $20/month. Of course I can afford them, even on my budget. 3 words: Security, Mice, Spiders! -Amanda

    4. okay, fair enough. my in-laws have cats for the mice also. but for a few years they had birds, including parrots, for...no reason whatsoever. very expensive hobby. in my city, cats are feral and roam the streets, so no mice and also no cost. and they're much cuter than squirrels.

  2. Some impressive work; thank you, Amanda!

    I bought the turkey breast too, same price, pressure cooked it for casseroles and things. I'll give the nuggets a try though. I just found a Fresh 'n Easy nearby, and they have lots of cheap food (including .99 panko, ketchup and mustard for bbq sauce) so that'll help our budget a lot.


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