The Real Deal: How shopping at your local butcher can help you save money and support the community
Have you been spending more on meat at the grocery store? You may be able to save on your groceries by shopping locally.
If you're finding that your wallet doesn't go as far as it used to, it's because costs are up across New England.
"Energy cost is the big driving force of inflation throughout Connecticut and throughout the country for that matter,” says Caleb Silver, of Investopedia. “When we look inside the prices that we track, motor fuel in Connecticut alone is up 53.2% in just the past year. Household energy, the energy we need to cool and heat our homes, that's up 38.9%. Electricity cost is up 18.3%. Food we're buying at the grocery store to bring home to cook, that's up 7.5% in just the past year.”
Silver says you may need to make some changes to cut the costs.
“You're going to have to tighten your belt wherever you can, that means driving less, potentially carpooling more. Filling up at alternative gas stations instead of the big box retailers, but also thinking about ways you can postpone a road trip,” Silver says.
Another way to save is instead of shopping at a big chain grocery store, you can shop locally.
Tim Frosina, the owner and head butcher at Custom Meats in Fairfield, says "We haven't had a price change here in three years…We don't operate the same as every other meat business per se. We don't buy commercial meat, we only buy local meat from small farmers here in the area. We're not affected by the price hikes because everything we do is in a closed loop, our farmers do everything themselves, so they're not affected by commodity prices.”
Frosina has tips if you are looking for the best meats to buy on a budget.
"Best meats you’re going to buy on budget simply are ground meats,” he says. “So, things like ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, ground chicken. Whenever you're looking to buy cuts of meat, it’s always going to be more expensive because there's only a limited quantity of cuts, whereas grinds are plentiful.”
Supporting local business not only stretches your dollar, it also strengthens the community.
“You help our local farmers, who are people raising and growing food in your area,” Frosina says. “You’re helping them live, to do a good thing, to raise animals properly and you're supporting the right way to do things as opposed to paying a big corporation to abuse animals, essentially."