Friday, December 4, 2009

Freezing to Save Money on Groceries

I admit it. I have discovered yet another way My Mother Was Right. And it's all about using my freezer to save money on groceries.

I'll explain.

This Fall my sister in law gave me a chest freezer she wasn't using anymore. She had purchased a new model, and I was only too happy to give the freezer a new home. To be honest, I had already been in the market for a freezer. Because I grow an abundance of fruits and vegetables, which I flash-freeze to preserve, I have needed extra cold storage. So, when my sister in law made the offer, I was thrilled.

But after using the freezer for a while, I have been surprised to find that it helps me to save money on my regular groceries. In fact, our food budget has gone down by around $300 a month.

Because I have a freezer, I can over-purchase freezable items when they're on sale. I bring them home and freeze the excess. In addition to standard frozen food items, I have frozen
  • milk
  • butter
  • bacon
  • beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • cheese
  • soup
  • cranberries
  • garden vegetables
  • bread
Now that I can freeze the essentials, I've cut down how often I go to the store. In fact, I'm only going to the store at the beginning of the month. I write on my calendar what day I shopped and how much I spent. Then I see how long I can wait before shopping again. Last month, I made it 28 days.

If I'm not in the store, I'm not spending. My snack-avoidance willpower isn't tested on a weekly basis. I can decide what kinds of sweets or snacks to have on hand each month, plan them into our food budget, and stick to the plan. At the end of the month, we even have food left over. So before I shop again, I take inventory and make a list. I read the sale papers and pay a visit to our local butcher. I buy meat on sale and go to the store that has the lowest milk prices. I have been buying more of what we need and making fewer impulse purchases. (That is, if you don't count Christmas decorations...)

The thing is, using a freezer to stock up and save money is nothing new. My mother raised 6 of us, and pulling bread out of the freezer (or meat or pumpkin for pumpkin pie) was part of our routine. She used to go once a month to a grocery store that was an hour away, just because they had lower prices. I would wake up at 6 am on a Saturday to go along. (Now that's bargain-hunting!)

I'm just grateful to have a chance to do a little saving now for my own family. It sure has come in handy these past couple of months. And with Christmas around the corner, it feels good to know we'll have a few extra pennies to rub together.

Now, I'm wondering...
Do You freeze?
Do you have any money-saving freezer tricks to share?


- Midwest Mom

14 comments:

  1. I have been doing this more and more. Especially since we bought a Sam's membership a couple of years ago. It really saves $ and the number of trips to the store. It hurts to go to the store and pay grocery store prices anymore. We also go in with family and have a cow butchered. We each recieve 1/4 in various prepared cuts of meat and ground beef. We also know where the meat has come from as we buy from a local farmer.
    Freezing Fanatic!

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  2. That's great Julia. I can't believe you see that much of a difference. I can't imagine going to the store once a month, but I can see that it would really, really save money.

    I'll have to give it some thought as to whether or not I think I could make it work for me, I have an extra fridge and a large freezer.

    Do you notice a difference in the milk when it's been thawed?

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  3. Mom24 - When you freeze milk, there are two differences. First, it expands and those dimples in the plastic jug bulge out (it turns out, that's what they're for! Who knew?) Second, it turns yellow. I'll admit the yellow thing really threw me. But the milk is only yellow (the color of butter) until it thaws, then it's perfectly white again.

    As long as you allow the gallon to completely thaw before drinking, there is absolutely no change in taste.

    ... makes you want to stock up when milk's on sale, doesn't it?? :D

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

    - Julia

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  4. Hi Julia! I couldn't live without my freezer - even tho its just me and hubs now. It's a great money saver as you said - allowing you to stock up when the sales are going on! Besides that, I tend to cook in quantities like I'm feeding an army - guess it's a left-over behavior for when I felt like I really WAS! I cannot cook for two! I made huge pots of stews, soups, chili, goulash, and whatever - then freeze in tuperware. I might have a few cooking days a month with several huge pots cooking at once - like I'm manic or something - the rest of the month I don't have to make more than a salad! I just rotate the freezed stuff - bam - done! LOVE it!

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  5. Wow I want to go out and by a freezer for my apartment now! I used to nanny for a family of 8 and they did the same thing. Did you know that you can also freeze deserts, pastries, and meals in bulk. It is only my daughter and me, so I cook 4lbs of hamburger at once and freeze them by the half pound in my freezer, that way when I want to make a meal I just take out one container and heat up the meat. I also make lasagna, speghetti sauce, hot dish and chili in bulk. One last thing, I don't know if it's the case where you are at, but here in Minnesota, milk tends to be way way cheaper at gas stations. Anyways I enjoyed your post :)

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  7. I'm a freezer--and we buy a half a cow at such a bargain from a local butcher--getting meat that way is an enormous savings. All of our cuts from that half cow were $1.63 a pound--compared to a minimum of $2 a pound for ground beef--and more for every other cut.

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  9. Thats true we can save a little by freezing our groceries. I do freeze mostly meats, that really helps, buying them in bulk as always buying in bulk is cheaper, freezing them and using them whenever needed.

    Seema (www.seema-musings.blogspot.com

    Thanks for ur lovely msg on my post on christmas markets in Germany

    ReplyDelete
  10. A freezer is great! I have prepared, froze and stored food in our large freezer for over 30 years. Living in Western MA we have an abundance of fresh fruit & veggies in the summer. Steamed Butternut Squash that has been frozen and then defrosted and heated in the microwave tastes so good! Freezer Jam, Blueberries & Strawberries only need to be defrosted.

    After Thanksgiving the cooked extra Turkey pieces were used in Turkey a la King. Yes, portions were placed in Ziploc Storage containers for quick and easy dinners.

    Lasagna, Manicotti, Sweet and Sour Pork, Sausage Soup and Minestrone freeze very well after preparing. Now, I am baking desserts for Christmas. A freezer is so useful! It has been a way of life! Glad that you are enjoying yours!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, we freeze mostly garden veggies. WOOT that you are enjoying your freezer :D

    Beautiful post!!!

    What a WHOPPER of a storm we're having. Power was out for 8 hours.

    Happy Holidays, JJ

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  12. We freeze meat when it goes on sale, butter, and cheese. Good job. Im now on a personal challenge to see what else I can freeze.

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  13. Oh, my. I took advantage of a sale on milk once and placed the plastic jugs in the freezer. A couple of days later when my son was looking for the ice cream and he informed me, "the milk is making a break for it". I never tried to freeze milk again, 3 gallons were ruined.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Going to a grocery this time of the year is such a hard thing to do. Prices are a bit high and money i shard. A freezer can help big time in a household. You can save a lot with it.

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