Eating on a budget: cheaper cuts of meat

When it comes to saving on your food shopping bill, there are a number of ways you can get the most for your money – tips like making a list before you go, not shopping on an empty stomach and buying tinned and frozen vegetables which last longer and are quick to cook can all help. You can also save money by choosing cheaper cuts of meat which have all the great taste of other meats but just need a little longer cooking time.

Cheaper cuts of meat

Some of those cheaper cuts include Beef (mince, chuck, blade, brisket); lamb/mutton (shoulder, neck, gigot chop); Chicken (thigh) and Pork (belly, shoulder, gigot, chop).

Shopping for cheaper cuts of meat        

When shopping for cheaper cuts of meat:

  • Try to buy lean mince as it contains less fat
  • Try to buy the amount you need - 80g/3oz uncooked meat per person
  • Remove visible fat or get your butcher to do it
  • Ask your butcher for advice – also ask them to prepare your meat for you (e.g. dice it; bone it; etc)

Preparation and cooking

When preparing and cooking cheaper cuts of meat, there are a number of healthy options you can try:

  • Remove skin from poultry before eating.
  • Add some extra flavour like garlic, pepper and lemon juice - fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, parsley, sage and thyme are also great for flavour. And if you’re using dried herbs instead of fresh varieties, you only need a third of dried herbs compared to fresh herbs.
  • Spices such as curry powder, Cajun and chilli can turn an ordinary meal into something magical. If you use prepared sauces for pasta, try using half the sauce you normally use and add a tin of tomatoes, as these sauces tend to be higher in salt.
  • Use a non-stick pan or a little oil, especially those high in good fats e.g. vegetable or sunflower oil.
  • Drain/ skim off any excess fat that you can see after cooking.

Time saving tips

Save some time when cooking these cheaper cuts; plan your meal ahead by making it the night before or put it in a slow oven at lunchtime so it is ready for dinner that evening. You can also double up your recipe, freezing what you don’t use in portions for another time.

Food safety tips

Store raw meat and poultry in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge and keep raw meat separate from cooked meat. When reheating leftovers, heat until piping hot all the way through and never reheat food more than once. For more information on how to store meat visit the storage section of this site.


Here are two suggestions for recipes using cheap cuts of meat:
These recipes are suitable for freezing and so can be made in larger quantities and frozen in portion sized servings. Add lots of vegetables your recipe - fresh, frozen, dried or tinned. Serve with a starchy food like potatoes, pasta or rice and plenty of vegetables.