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How to lower the soaring cost of home-cooked meals

Beef, chicken, and fish prices up almost 15% this year
Beef Steak Getty 050813
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 07:06:49-04

For years, people saved money by cooking at home and not overspending on expensive take-out.

But with the soaring price of groceries, home cooking is not saving as much money as it used to, especially if your meals involve meat or fish.

At Dutch's Red Feather Larder restaurant, steak tips aren't the only thing sizzling.

Chef and co-owner Brad Bernstein says from steak to salmon, food costs are soaring for both restaurants and home cooks.

"For instance, ribeye steaks are going through the roof," he said.

His beef and chicken prices are up 15 percent this year.

Ways to lower beef costs

So this award-winning chef suggests slimming down the meat portion of your dinners, and adding more veggies, rice, and pasta.

"Get back to that healthier cuisine, where the portion of meat should fit in the palm of your hand," he suggested.

His other tip: Buy cheaper cuts of meat and marinate them.

"Shoppers should check out some of the other items, like flank steak, hangar steak, chuck roast, where prices have not gone up as much," he said.

Unfortunately, it is not just beef and chicken: so many other things are up in price -- even milk and eggs -- making it tough to lower that home cooking bill.

Marketing professor Kelly Goldsmith of Vanderbilt University says "inflation is coming at us from all angles, and it's no fun."

Ways to keep shopping costs down

She says to save on groceries, don't just visit your closest grocery store.

Instead, comparison shop prices online.

"If you haven't been an online grocery shopper, you can at least use those portals to see what the prices are before you go," she said.

And she warns you to watch out for budget-blowing impulse purchases, whether grabbing an expensive item on a store's endcap, or adding a latte to that shopping trip.

"If you're the type of person that every time you go to the grocery store you spend $8 at Starbucks getting yourself a drink and a snack, that's not nothing," she said. "That adds up."

What if you are thinking of replacing a pricey home-cooked meal with a night out? Beware higher prices at most restaurants this year.

"You gotta keep in mind these restaurants are facing inflation too," Goldsmith said.

Chef Bernstein agrees, saying you should not blame your local restaurant for higher menu prices. Many are barely making a profit this year.

"It's constantly changing," he said, "and we feel like we can't keep up with the rising costs."

But a few smart shopping and menu changes should help you keep those costs down, so you don't waste your money.

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