Where to shop for savings on meat

HOUSTON There are several reasons why beef prices are going up -- the price of corn and soybeans to feed cattle is climbing and ranchers have reduced the size of their herds. So if you are looking for ways to save money, you may want to try shopping in a different part of town or changing the cut of meat you buy.

We head to the H-E-B just off Buffalo Speedway near the affluent West University Place. They tell us one of their most popular cuts of meat is a flank steak. The price for flank steak is $7.99 a pound. We also check out the price of boneless beef ribeye steak. It's $8.48 a pound.

Then we head to another H-E-B -- this one located in southwest Houston off Beechnut. The area and the store itself are not quite as fancy. This store doesn't even carry the top-cut flank steak! It does however carry skirt steak. It's a fattier meat, but much, much cheaper at $2.98 a pound. That's a difference of five bucks. The price of ribeye at the beechnut store is $7.98 a pound. It was $8.48 a pound at the other location. That's a savings of 50 cents.

Another difference we found -- at the higher end H-E-B, there is a full service meat department. At the store on Beechnut there's no meat counter, but there is a huge selection of value packs.

For example, we found 10 pounds of ground beef for $18. That averages out to $1.80 a pound. At the high end store, there's not a big selection of the value packs. We did find a five pound pack of beef for $10.50. Do the math and it's still a 30 cents difference per pound.

Bottom line -- location, location, location. It really does matter when it comes to price and selection. Some high-end locations didn't even sell the cheaper cuts of meat. They stick to the prime.

A couple of other tips to keep in mind. Shop for manager's specials -- some stores have clearance sections where you can find meat up to 75 percent off. And also, buy in bulk, and use that freezer. Steaks last anywhere from 4 to 12 months, ground beef three to four months.

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