You probably think you can’t afford to eat meat 24/7 but in this article, you will see there are many tricks you can implement that will keep your food (meat) budget low and possibly lower than it has ever been.
Even when compared to similar diets like keto or paleo you will see you can make it even more affordable.
And what if the carnivore diet saves your health and also your wallet? Double Win!
This article will show you that affordability can’t be used as an excuse for not eating like a true carnivore. With a little discipline and sourcing, you will be able to turn the carnivore diet into a budget-friendly way to eat.
Meat Markdowns and The Soon To Expire Deals
You can really score some deals at your conventional grocery store. Generally speaking, their butcher departments don’t like to see their product go to waste so if a certain meat isn’t selling they will slap on the reduced price sales stickers.
Also, the meat that is about to expire in a day will have tremendous reductions in price, we are talking 25-75 percent off.
I was at a Ralph’s (big chain grocery store), and they had the Simple Truth brand of grass-fed ground beef 80/20 fat ratio marked down to $2.99 per pound. I bought everything they had left which was about 8 pounds worth, (I would have bought more too.) So if I eat 2 pounds of ground beef per day that’s $6.00 per day. Not bad!
You can also ask the butcher manager when they usually markdown their about to expire meats, (they are not actually expiring they are really sell-by dates). It’s usually in the morning which is good because you miss the shopping rush hour and save money and time.
So when you see the major markdowns and sales, go ahead and stock up and put what you’re not gonna use that week in the freezer.
Online Coupons and Newsletters
All the major grocery store chains like Ralphs, City Market, Albertsons, Trader Joes, Lassens, etc. have coupon sections of their websites.
Before you start shopping for the week take the extra five minutes and see where the deals are at. These aren’t going to be as good as the about to expire markdowns but they will help.
Also, a lot of these stores have monthly newsletters in which they email the coupons or sales items.
I get the Lassens newsletter and have scored on some of their sales. In fact this past week they had some super healthy toothpaste 25% off and it came with a free toothbrush. Unfortunately, the toothpaste wasn’t made out of animal products…hahaha.
Get Fat Trimmings They Are Cheep!
Here is a little hack most people don’t know. You can add fat trimmings to your burgers and steaks to increase the fat ratio which in turn makes you more satiated.
Or you can go all out and make your own tallow to cook with!
What’s Tallow? Tallow is rendered fat from cows which you can then use as cooking oil. It’s great because it will last for months without refrigeration. Just keep an airtight seal or cover on it.
I’ll put a teaspoon or more in a pan when cooking burgers or steaks.
Here’s the easy way to make (render) tallow.
This is another scenario in which tallow comes in handy. Say you are at a store or butcher and the 90/10 ground beef is half off. You’re thinking you need higher fat content beef like an 80/20 or 70/30 but what if you just add tallow? Yep, by doing so you increase the fat content and the taste of the burger so buy the 90/10 meat deals when they are available.
How do you get fat trimmings?
Just go to the local butcher and ask them for some. Sometimes they will give them to you for free and other times you may have to pay for them but they are cheap, like 50 cents a pound cheap.
No Time to Make Your Own Tallow?
That’s cool too because you can buy it and it’s also very affordable. Here are a few samples of companies that make tallow.
The Cheap Cuts
For those that crave a steak but don’t want to pay ribeye prices, there are more affordable options but these are so-called inferior cuts so it’s recommended to cook on the more rare side otherwise they can be tough to eat and if all else fails just throw them in the slow cooker with some water, salt and perhaps a little pepper. (Pepper is not carnivore.)
Also these cuts are a little more lean meaning less fat content so be sure to add some tallow or ground beef as a side dish.
Doesn’t that sound great? A steak with a side of burger meat!
Here’s a few of the cheaper cuts and steaks to look out for: Bottom Round Roast, Flap Steak, Eye Round, Chuck Tender, Chuck Eye, Short Ribs Bone-In, and of course there is usually super affordable stew meat.
A lot of these cuts need to be cooked or grilled a certain way so fire up the internet and see how other people are doing it. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon; cooking, learning, and eating a ton of meat on a budget.
Eat a Majority of Ground Beef
As soon as your body becomes fat-adapted, meaning your metabolism starts using fat as energy rather than carbs you should be able to increase the amount of fat you are able to eat.
What this means is you will not get a nauseous feeling after a high-fat meal. This also means you are ready to step up your ground beef regiment and have it as your #1 source if you so choose.
Why is this good?
Because ground beef is the more affordable solution to the carnivore diet. You’re looking at $4 per pound on the non grass fed and up to $9 per pound for grass fed. I did a huge analysis of meat prices on another post called, “How Much Does the Carnivore Diet Cost? A Surprising Breakdown”. Check it out as it lists prices from several different stores, butchers and even the cost of a whole cow.
Stick to Eggs Too
Eggs are an “eggcellent” money saver! If your body doesn’t have a problem with digesting eggs or an egg allergy they are great to add to your breakfast a few times per week.
Also, if you are new to the carnivore diet make a few hardboiled eggs and use them as snacks in case you end up getting a craving or hungry. After you are adapted you no longer get cravings so snacking is a non-issue.
However if you feel like you could benefit from a good snack or two here is our article on the subject:
Recent Egg Costs both Free Range and Conventional
- Vital Farms Pasture Raised $5.47 per dozen
- Horizon Organic Cage Free $3.49 per dozen
- Eggland Best Cage Free Eggs $6.29 per dozen
- Kirkland Pasture Raised $9.19 for two dozen
- California Ranch (Conventional) $1.49 per dozen
Obviously organic free-range chicken eggs are the preferred eggs from a health point of view and also on the animal’s point of view. Gotta keep it humane.
I like to undercook my eggs sunny side up as it makes them more bioavailable. I’ll just add them to my morning burger bowl along with some salt. Right now I average 3 eggs per day, nothing too crazy.
Keep it Salty
While we are talking about adding salt I should mention that sometimes people on a carnivore diet don’t consume enough salt. While reading “The Carnivore Code” by Dr. Paul Saladino he recommends 6-10 grams per day.
That being said you will go through a bunch. That’s why I buy salt in bulk, 10-pound bucket style. What’s the best salt? In my opinion, it’s Redmond Real Sea Salt. It’s sourced from an ancient sea bed in Utah so it’s free of microplastics and other potentially hazardous toxins found in the ocean sourced salt.
You can go to their website and at checkout, you can use my coupon code for a 15% discount. The code is Wild or this link will automatically hook you up!
Plus they have awesome toothpaste and electrolyte powders which come in handy but that’s a whole other topic!
Save and Freeze Your Bones for Broth
That’s right keep those bones. Make a nice collection and store in your freezer until you have enough to fill your crockpot with. This includes beef bones, chicken bones, pork bones, and any other bones.
At the end of the week or so put them in a crockpot add 3-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some fresh spring water, (or filtered, anything but tap), and add some salt and let cook 24-48 hours.
When done cooking just strain the bones and BAM! you have super affordable highly nutritious bone broth.
Or just buy bones from the butcher or grocery store.
Whole Foods has bones in their freezer for about $3 per pound but butchers sometimes give them away for free or charge about $1 or $2 per pound. Just pre-roast them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes before you put in the crock pot….not too long though because it will destroy the nutrients.
I definitely recommend Bone Broth if you are just starting out on the carnivore diet as it has the needed electrolytes and will help with Keto flu styled symptoms.
Or just buy it. The reason I like to make my own is because I know the water source. Some of these companies are not as particular with the water and they could be using tap water which depending on where you live could have fluoride and chlorine in it.
Here are few examples of Bone Broth. Check the links for prices.
- Kettle & Fire Grass-fed Bone Broth
- Pacific Foods Bone Broth
- Epic Grass-fed Bone Broth
- Bare Bones Beef Bone Broth – 100% Grass-Fed Beef
Buy a Whole Fricking Cow!!
Yes, this is a great way to save money in the long run. The average price per pound is lower than the supermarket and most butchers.
The added benefit is that you get to purchase directly from the rancher and at the same time build a relationship and learn a few things. Even if you live in a big city chances are there are ranches on the outskirts, if not you can still order online, and then when ready take a trip and pick it up.
I currently live in Los Angeles and was able to find a grass-fed rancher about an hour away and purchased a quarter beef.
I’ve also shared in the purchase of a full beef when living in Colorado but that one was bought at auction, another way to buy.
Here are some basic numbers and what to expect with pricing:
- Full Cow= $6.00 to $9.00 per pound
- Half Cow= $6.00 to $9.00 per pound
- Quarter Cow= $7.50 to $10.00 per pound
These estimated prices include butcher/processing fees.
The cool thing about buying this is way is that you are getting the expensive steaks and cuts. When you order you get a little sheet and you actually pick which cuts you want and fat to meat ratios you want your beef. It’s a nose-to-tail style!
(A Cool Idea: Find other like minded carnivore friendly friends and pool your money and go buy that cow.)
Here are the different percentages of steaks, cuts and ground meat:
- 25% Steak
- 35% Roasts
- 40% Ground Beef
The Cons of a Full Cow Purchase
- The only somewhat bad thing is that you need to put down a deposit, usually around 25% and then pay the rest when you pick it up which is a good amount of money.
- You will need to pick it up.
- You will need freezer space. If you have an auto-defrost freezer your meat will last about 3 months because the walls of this type of freezer heat up and re-freeze which also affects your meat.
- If packaged airtight you will have about a year to eat the meat but if you are carnivore that probably won’t be a problem. But be careful if you have an auto-defrost freezer!
Butter, Salt and Sometimes Pepper
These are the three main additives I see with this diet and they are all very affordable.
Butter can be used liberally so expect to go through maybe one stick per week. Also salt is a major player and you will need to have anywhere from 6-10 grams per day depending on weight and what your body is telling you.
Pepper is just in case you need some flavor, I use sparingly as I’m adjusted to enjoying meat as just meat. Check the links for current pricing.
As you can see this diet can be affordable with a little sacrifice and extra work on either finding sales, making your own goods, or going big with buying a full cow.
It’s possible to eat this lifestyle for under $15 per day or even less if you are an expert bargain hunter and rack up rapport with your butcher.
Remember when working on your budget you are getting rid of a lot of BS food, like snacks, Starbucks, sauces, and expensive so-called healthy food. With a little discipline, this is possible.
Motivation and Transformations
If you are looking for some motivation and want to start off the carnivore diet on the right foot you can book me as your personal carnivore diet coach through MeatRX! Book me here.
Also, check out our Wild Lumens YouTube channel. We have awesome recipes, meat comparisons, and other health-related shenanigans.
Become a Carnivore Bookworm
Here are my go-to Carnivore Diet books…I resort to these books on the regular.
- The Carnivore Cookbook by Jessica Haggard (For a limited time use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
- The Carnivore Diet by Dr. Shawn Baker
- The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino
If you liked this post and know someone that could use a little data on the affordability factor please share! Sharing is caring.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.