Upcoming Zaycon Deliveries + New Product | Buy Fresh Meat in Bulk For Less

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Looking for a quick way to kill your grocery budget?  Take a trip down the meat aisle.  Premium cuts are outrageous, and budget cuts are usually poor quality.  In fact, at most of my grocery stores, all cuts are poor quality.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Zaycon Fresh before and how much it helps our grocery budget while keeping my picky palate happy.  If not, check out this post detailing the service and my experience: ZAYCON FRESH: THE BEST AND CHEAPEST WAY TO BUY FRESH MEAT

I noticed over the weekend that Zaycon has added a new cut of meat to the delivery schedule.  They’ve added 80/20 ground beef (often referred to as ground chuck) to the December deliveries for just $2.99/lb.  I adore the 93/7 beef, especially for tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles, etc., but I prefer a little fattier cut for burgers and meatballs.  I’m thrilled to have the option to order both!

They have several deliveries coming up this fall.  Each area has a different schedule, so make sure you sign up to see events in your area.

You must order early, and it looks like all events are open for orders now.  The dates shown below are the general pick-up dates for the entire country.  Pickup is at a single day and time for each city.

October 2nd-16th (October 7th-8th for SWMO locations)

  • Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs)
    $6.99/lb X 25.00 lbs | $174.75/case
  • Frozen Premium Alaskan Cod
    $5.49/lb X 25.00 lbs | $137.25/case
      SOLD OUT
  • Bacon – Hickory Smoked, Medium Sliced – 36 lbs
    $3.79/lb X 36.00 lbs | $136.44/case
  • Pork Sausage Links
  • $2.79/lb X 20.00 lbs | $55.80/case

October 23rd-November 21st (November 3rd-4th for SWMO locations)

  • Chicken Breasts (Fresh Boneless Skinless)
    $1.89/lb X 40.00 lbs | $75.60/case

December 4-th-18th (December 9th-10th for SWMO locations)

  • Carvemaster Boneless Applewood Smoked Ham
    $3.49/lb X 20.00 lbs | $69.80/case
  • Fresh Ground Beef, Lean (93/7) – 40 lbs
    $3.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $159.60/case
  • Fresh 80/20 Ground Beef – 40lbs
    $2.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $119.60/case

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ZAYCON FRESH

 

Zaycon Fresh: The Best and CHEAPEST Way to Buy Fresh Meat

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You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Zaycon Fresh for years, but I realized that I’ve not updated the original post in a very long time.

Zaycon is a company that works directly with meat producers to bring customers prime cuts of fresh meat in bulk and skip the middle man.  This results in the freshest meat possible at a great price.

They offer events for many locations throughout the year.  All you have to do is sign up, look for an event in your area, and purchase the items you want.  Each event has a specific delivery date.  To pick up, all you have to do is visit the location.  It’s all set up as a drive thru, so you just need to roll down your window, show your receipt, and they load it for you.

When you purchase meat at the grocery store, it typically takes 21 days to get from the producer to the shelf.  With Zaycon, it seems to average 6-8 days.  The pack date is plainly stamped on the box.

We raise a lot of our own meat, but Zaycon is a close second.  Once you try it, you’ll definitely not want to go back to grocery store meats… especially the chicken!

I get asked a lot of questions about the Zaycon meats, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A to help answer them.  If I miss something, please comment or ask in our Facebook group.  I’ll do my best to answer!

Alicia, I’m really picky about meat.  How can I believe you that this is actually good?

Do you buy your meat in a grocery store?  If so, you probably aren’t that picky.  I worked in a butcher shop for several years and we farm.  I process almost all of our meat myself because most aren’t up to my standards.

Is this hormone free?  The chicken breasts look very large.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually illegal for any chicken producer to administer growth hormones.  There are several types of chickens that are bred to grow to a large size very quickly.

How hard is this to process?

It’s only going to be as hard as you make it.  Because most items arrive fresh, you can package and freeze them with no worries.

When I process chicken, I typically halve the breasts (they are a butterfly cut), then I filet each one to thin it.  This speeds up thawing.  There’s occasionally a piece that needs a bit of trimming.  If I have extra time, I will slice strips for fajitas and dice some for quick stir fry, jambalaya, soups, etc.  It takes me about 30 minutes per case to process and package it into freezer bags.

The bacon is very easy to pull out pieces and bag separately.

The sausage links are frozen, and they fit perfectly into a quart bag.  Because they are flash frozen, you can also freeze the entire box if you have room and just pull out what you need.

To process the ground beef, I simply slice burgers off of the roll, place on a cookie sheet between layers of parchment paper, and freeze.  I usually make up a batch of meatloaves or meatballs, because that is hard to do with meat that’s been frozen.  To freeze batches of ground beef for tacos, soups, casseroles, etc., I cut a roll into 10 equal pieces (that’s 1 lb hunks), place into a quart freezer bag, and flatten.  They store easily in the freezer and take up little space.

Some people prefer to make up freezer meals, marinate the meats, etc.  This will drastically increase the time you spend processing, but will speed up dinner time in the future!

What happens if I don’t have time to process it the day I receive it?

I mentioned above how much faster it gets to you than the grocery store.  The driver picks it up at the producer just before he starts delivering.  I actually kept a chicken breast in the refrigerator the last time I bought to see how long it took to ‘go bad’.  It was 13 days before it started even smelling like grocery store meat.  You know, that icky ‘it smells like meat’ smell.  It took 16 days before it was at the point that I wouldn’t consider cooking it.

Most of the meats have a ‘use by’ date stamped on the box.  The ground beef I picked up on August 13th says to use or freeze by the 25th.  That gives me plenty of time to decide how I want to freeze it.  It also gives me almost two weeks to enjoy the fresh, never frozen meat!

I just can’t bring myself to buy meat from a truck.

You do realize that this is the same type of truck that delivers your meat to a grocery store to sit in their cooler for weeks, right?

How’s the ground beef?

I was finally able to coordinate a beef delivery last week, and to say that I’m thrilled with it is an understatement.  This is 93/7 ground beef, which means that there should be a fat content of 7%.  The most inexpensive cut you see in the grocery store is 73/27, which means that there should be a 27% content.

I actually bought a package of inexpensive ground beef at $3.99 to compare with.  The Zaycon beef was $3.99/lb, but I bought it with a coupon code that dropped the price to $3.59.  I drained over 40% of the weight off of the store bough beef.  That meant a pound of meat ended up weighing 9.6 oz once it was done cooking.  Then I cooked the Zaycon beef.  I drained ZERO!  Maybe a couple of drops, but it wasn’t enough to make much of a difference.  I ended up with just under a pound of cooked meat.

What does this mean?  That the store bought meat with a lesser taste actually cost me $5.60 per pound of cooked meat, while the Zaycon cost me $3.59 and tasted so much better.

I also decided to make up some identical burger patties.  I cooked one and left one raw to compare the size when the first one was cooked to well done.  Both still weighed almost exactly the same, but the shape was off a bit where the cooked burger plumped up. Here’s the difference:

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How can I store this to make it last the longest?

Some people love to use their Food Saver to process theirs, but honestly, I’d rather not use mine.  It’s expensive, time consuming, and a hassle.  Because there are events for each cut at least twice a year, I can plan my orders to keep from having a large excess that’s frozen for a long period of time.

I usually just package mine in Glad brand freezer bags.  They don’t break down as badly as the others over time.  I prefer the quart, which will hold two large chicken breasts, 4 breast fillets, sausage links, and 2 lbs of ground beef.  They are the perfect serving sizes for my big eaters.

Can I share with a friend?  A 40 lb box of chicken seems like so much!

Of course, but I’ll warn against it. Each box is divided inside so that you can easily distribute.  One of the biggest complaints I get is that someone ordered one box to split and loved it so much that they couldn’t stomach buying meat at the store to get through until the next event.  20 lbs of chicken might last a couple a few weeks, but it doesn’t go very far for families.

Can I order at the last minute?

Even though they give a ‘last day to order’, almost all of the items sell out long before that date.  They can only fit so much on a truck!  Get your orders in early to avoid missing out completely.  Trust me- I speak from experience.


We sometimes buy meat at the store to supplement if we run out of Zaycon, because obviously we can’t grow it all- and not near at these prices.  In recent weeks, almost every package I’ve bought has went bad within 2 days of purchase, and long before the ‘use by’ date.  I’ve doubled up on my Zaycon orders this fall to prevent me from throwing out any food.

CLICK HERE TO SEE EVENTS IN YOUR AREA

Oreos: $2.38 SHIPPED or $1.93 with Ibotta Rebate

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Amazon has Oreos for just $2.98 shipped with Prime.  There is a 20% off coupon just below the price which will drop the price of a package to just $2.38 shipped.

You can also purchase two and submit for the $1.50 rebate.  Sign up for Ibotta here.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOURS

Want to save even more on groceries and household items at Amazon?  Check out our Subscribe and Save and Prime Pantry Facebook groups!  Some of these prices are better than couponing –> yes, that means FREE!

How You Can Fix Your Grocery Budget in 2015

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It’s no secret that couponing has lost most of its magic.  Food prices are up, coupon values are down, and store policies have gotten very strict. A large portion of the coupon classes I’ve taught over the past decade focused on how to shop at grocery stores and avoid the overpriced big box stores. Many chose to switch their shopping to the Kroger family stores, which have recently closed in most of the local market.  It’s a rough loss, especially since shopping options are limited enough in my local market, but that doesn’t mean that you have to throw in the towel and pay full price!

Over the past couple of years, things have changed so much in my life that couponing became one of the first things to go.  Limits were imposed that made it difficult to justify the drive into town.  We began growing and producing more of our own produce and meats.  We also welcomed baby #3 into the family, which was a big adjustment considering our older children were pre-teens and teenagers.  We battled a long illness and are still battling chronic carsickness with him, which has greatly limited the time I have to shop.

Instead of blowing my budget, which seemed almost inevitable, I’ve settled on a combination of alternate savings techniques that have not only kept my budget in tact, I’m actually spending less money AND saving a ton of time.  Here’s how I’m doing it:

Shopping the Sales I’m not a supporter of price matching, but I am a big supporter of many of our local grocers.  We have a fantastic selection of mom and pop stores who run much better sales than any of the larger chains.  They have fantastic produce and meats, along with offering a pleasant shopping experience.  If you don’t have time to shop at multiple stores, pick the store that has the best prices and sales on the items that your family normally buys.  Don’t be quick to regard a grocer as ‘expensive’, because some of the more high end stores offer more competitive pricing- not only in their sales, but as everyday prices.  You won’t know until you go!

Knowing Your Prices This is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to save money on anything.  If you’re not aware of the retail price, you won’t be able to judge how much you’re saving.

Purchasing in Bulk In recent years, we shied away from warehouse stores because the prices were no longer competitive enough to justify the membership fees.  While many items are still not a bargain, some are highly discounted.  If you family’s tastes revolve around some of the deepest discounts, you can save quite a bit.  It’s always important to know your prices and break down the warehouse price to identical sized packages to have an accurate comparison.  Some of my favorite warehouse buys are butter, cheese, frozen biscuits, peanut butter crackers, packaged deli meats, and greek yogurt.

Meal Planning By planning your meals around the store sales, you can easily cut your grocery bill in half.  If chicken is on sale, base your menu on your favorite chicken dishes.  Not only will this save you money in the store, you will save time by having a dinner plan in place each night, and you won’t be making additional trips to the store or grabbing dinner out.

Freezer Cooking This is an extension of meal planning that allows you to prepare multiple meals in a short amount of time and freeze them for future use.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing detailed meal plans for both fresh and freezer meals.

Prime Pantry Amazon has a relatively new service for members of Amazon Prime.  This service allows you to order many grocery and household items at prices lower than discount stores, and they ship straight to your door.  Many of the items have coupons available, and some are as low as FREE after the discount.  I order items such as canned veggies, wipes, flour, sugar, and spices from Prime Pantry. We’ve created a Facebook group dedicated solely to Prime Pantry deals,.  If you’d like to join, click here: Prime Pantry Deals Facebook Page 

Subscribe and Save This is another free service that allows you to purchase discounted items from Amazon.  These deals are often hidden, so we have a group dedicated to finding them just for you!  We find some fantastic ones- such as  Kahlua Coffee for $2, Udderly Smooth for $1, 5 lb bags of gourmet coffee for $8, a 6 pack of 24 oz bags of organic brown sugar for $2.44, and so many more!  You can join this group here:  Subscribe and Save Deals II

Gardening  This will be our fourth summer in this home, and we have been working on an orchard and expanding the gardens every year.  This year, I’ll be spending more time documenting my garden and harvests, along with sharing recipes and preservation techniques for seasonal recipes.

Farming We raise chickens for eggs and the occasional meat, and we also raise pigs.  Doing so doesn’t necessarily offset the cost of purchasing in-store, in fact, it’s often the opposite, but it does make me more comfortable in what I feed my family.  We also utilize Zaycon for boneless chicken breasts and other bulk meat purchases.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be bringing you more in-depth articles covering these topics so that you, too, can take full control of your time and budget.  In the meantime, don’t forget to request to join the Prime Pantry and Subscribe and Save Facebook groups!  We only approve new members once a month in each group and there are limited spots available.  Get your name on the list now, so we can approve you when there’s space.

I will also be booking a limited number of workshops throughout the year, including The Ultimate Grocery Savings Workshop (which focuses on how to cut your personal budget with and without using coupons), and our popular work at home series, Sensible Earnings.

If you’d like even more details on the above, make sure to join The Sensible Family facebook group- it’s filled with great ideas from like minded readers!

Aldi Produce Picks: August 20-26, 2014 {AVOCADOS!}

Each week, Aldi advertises some great produce prices.  We list the prices for the SWMO region, but always check your local ad for details.

Here are this week’s picks:

  • Sweet Corn (4 pack ears): $1.25
  • Avocados: $.33
  • Strawberries (16 oz pack): $1.25
  • Blueberries (pint): $1.25
  • Cantaloupe: $.99 each
  • Watermelon: $2.99 each

Remember, you can price match the produce prices at some other stores, including Walmart, if your store is sold out!

Also, you need to know about these Important Changes to Walmart Price Matching Policy.

Important Changes to Walmart Price Matching Policy

If you price match at Walmart to save on your groceries, you might be in for a shock when you check out this week.  Walmart has now altered their price matching policy to eliminate matching of store brand products.  According to the revised price matching policy, you can still match produce and meats, along with name brand items, but no store brand or private labels will be matched.  I know this won’t affect as many of you since you’ve been taking advantage of our Amazon household deals group!

If you’d like to read the full policy, click here:  Walmart Price Matching Policy.  We scan the policies regularly and post updates on our Facebook page, make sure to like us so you don’t miss an important change!

If you’re looking for a way to save on your household items without couponing, check out our Subscribe & Save group. We find the hottest Amazon deals (coupons, too!) and you can have your items shipped to your door at no charge.. for CHEAPER than couponing!!!  Save time AND money!

If you’re gearing up to save money on your holiday shopping, check out our HUGELY POPULAR site Extreme Christmas Savings and its Facebook group.  The Facebook group is already kicking off with fantastic deals for its TENTH holiday season!

*UPDATE* Introducing Savings Catcher From Walmart | Effortless Refunds if a Competitor Has a Lower Price

*UPDATE*  As the program rolls out nationwide this week, it looks like they’ve added to the eligible items.  I just got this email:

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Walmart’s new program, Savings Catcher, is now available in all areas.  All you have to do is enter your receipt data, and the program will scan local competitor’s ads and refund any price differences on a Walmart gift card.

Entering your receipt is easy.  You can enter your receipt number online, scan the barcode via the Savings Catcher section of the Walmart app, or register your phone number within the app and enter it upon checkout for automatic entering.

The inclusion list is vague, as it doesn’t state exactly which stores and ads are included.  There are several excluded items, such as store brands, meat, produce, and many general merchandise items.  A screen shot from the FAQ is attached below.

I don’t shop at Walmart often, but I did make a stop this weekend.  I’ve entered my receipt and am currently awaiting verification.  I’m curious to see how this pans out!  Have you used the program?

SWMO Price Match List | 7/30/14

We’ve added a new feature to The Sensible Family!  We know that many of you don’t have time to shop with coupons or even shop around for the best deals and it can take hours to come up with a great price match plan.  We’ve taken the work out of it and created the new SWMO Price Matchers.  This comprehensive price match list takes the work out of shopping!

Each week, we comb through every store’s ad within a 50 mile radius of Springfield and list the best prices.  This list is also fully compatible in towns such as Branson and Lebanon.  We’ve noted the stores that are close to the edge of the boundary so that you can easily adjust if needed.

In this PDF download, you will find two separate lists.  One is sorted by department to make your shopping much quicker.  The other is sorted by store so that you can easily refer to an ad upon checkout.

This week’s list features 273 different items, and we’ve made sure that the prices listed are the lowest across the all of the ads.

This week’s ad features prices from the following stores (other stores were considered, but did not qualify for the lowest prices):

  • Aldi
  • Apple Market
  • Dillons
  • Food 4 Less
  • Harter House
  • HyVee
  • Murfins
  • Price Cutter/Summer Fresh/Country Mart
  • Rhodes Price Chopper
  • Save A Lot
  • Woods

If you’d like to view last week’s list, click here.

The first 50 will receive the list for only $5- HALF off!