Reader Q&A: When should you buy a freezer? (and 4 ways our freezer saves us money)

4 Ways Our Freezer Saves us Money...a great post to help you decide if buying a freezer is worth it

Reader Abby recently asked:

When is the right time to invest in a chest freezer? I’m assuming you must have one just based on your purchases and how much you say you’re freezing.

I *finally* got a great deal on 80/20 ground beef at $1.99/lb, so I stocked up and bought almost 20 lbs. I also found cheese at Gordon Food Service. Mozzarella was $2/lb and cheddar was just a little more, so I stocked up there too. Now my teeny fridge freezer is completely full. I probably would have bought even more beef if I’d had more room, since it was the best deal I’ve seen in the 6 months that I’ve been watching.

 A.  Yes, we do have a chest freezer. Two of them actually!

If you are finding that your fridge’s freezer is constantly overflowing and you can afford it, I highly recommend getting one. We’ve found that ours take very little electricity (less than $10/mo. from what we can tell and they are both OLD) but they have saved us a bundle.  We got both of ours used and have had good success with them.

Two things to note: chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers.  Full freezers take less energy than empty so try to get a size that you think you will meet your needs but not be too big.

Here are 4 ways that our freezers have saved us money.

1.  Helps us eat healthier
I buy large quantities of fruits and veggies in season when they are generally at their cheapest price and then I freeze them.  This allows us to enjoy the delicious, nutritious benefits of these foods throughout the rest of the year.  (Frozen produce has been shown to have pretty much the same nutritional value as fresh.)

I also freeze lots of homemade things like bread, cookies and chicken stock too.

2.  Allows me to stock up during sales
One of my biggest ways to save is by stockpiling.  When an item that we use regularly is at rock bottom price I’ll buy a bunch of it.  If it is something that can be frozen I simply throw it in my chest freezer and use it as needed. Obviously if you eat lots of freezer dinners or frozen pizzas this would save you money as well, although I don’t recommend eating that way!

Some of the things that I have stockpiled and frozen:
Flour, butter, ice-cream (yes, it’s my weakness), shredded cheese, bacon, chicken, sausage, ground beef, ham and orange juice.

Tip: Most things can be frozen for months without any freezer burn.  I’ve discovered that pork products, especially chopped ham, don’t fare quite as well.  You can freeze them but I would try to use chopped pork or open packages within a couple of month’s time. 

3.  Keeps us from eating out as often
Because we always have our freezer stocked with lots of meat, fruits and vegetables and a variety of other foods, the temptation to eat out happens less often.  I always have something in the freezer that we can eat even if it is just the occasional frozen pizza.

4.  Allows me to cook in bulk and save time
I often make a double recipe of a dish and freeze half it.  This gives me an easy dinner at a later date (and helps with not eating out as mentioned above!).  This is especially helpful when you are preparing for a new baby.

When I make bread, I make 6 loaves at one time and freeze all but one to eat later.  It’s not uncommon for me to make up some homemade burritos, wrap them individually, and toss them in the freezer to have for an easy lunch on busy days.  When I make cookies, muffins, rolls, or cake I keep out what I think we’ll eat in several days time and freeze the rest.  This keeps us from eating more than we need and keeps our food fresh.

I frequently buy 10 lbs. of chicken (buying in large quantities often gets you bigger savings) and cook it up, separate it into smaller 2-4 c. portions and then freeze it.  If I make a soup, casserole or wrap that calls for chicken, I can skip the step of cooking it which saves me time and helps my meal prep go that much faster.  You can do the same thing with hamburger or sausage.

Do you think purchasing a freezer is worth it?  Why or why not? 

Have a question that you’d like to see featured here?  Leave me a comment or email me.  (Email link is found on the right hand side of my blog under “Follow Lydia Beiler”.)

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  1. by Kayla King

    On March 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I use my chest freezer so much, we recently needed to buy a bigger one. The biggest way we use it is keeping it stocked with venison from my dear husbands hobby, hunting. During the summer I make gallons and gallons of garden tea concentrate and freeze it, giving us something sweet to drink almost year round for super cheap. I love it for cheese, veggies, fruit, soups, … I freeze almost anything!

  2. by Lydia Beiler

    On March 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Kayla- Good to hear from another freezer lover. :) Never thought about how important a freezer would be to hunters. And I love your idea of freezing tea concentrate. I’m with you. There isn’t much I haven’t tried to freeze! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. by melissa

    On March 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    What is garden tea?

  4. by Megan

    On March 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What kind of containers do you use to freeze things in?

  5. by Margaret

    On March 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I have a lot of issues with freezer burn which really discourages me from freezing much. My hubby and I are discussing the purchase of a deep freezer. How do you store the food to keep it safe? Thanks!

  6. by Donni

    On March 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    In addition to the uses above, I also freeze things out of my garden. I freeze tomatoes, green peppers, chilies and jalapenos. Watch out for the chilies and jalapenos though, they get hotter the longer they are frozen. (I just put the vegetables in freezer bags, no canning required.)

  7. by Jen

    On March 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I freeze a lot of produce from our garden as well as we do a lot of berry picking in the summer. I have a vacuum sealer and it works great, and the produce last all winter long.

  8. by Lydia Beiler

    On March 18, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Melissa- Good question. It is a cold, iced tea made with mint or peppermint tea leaves. There are lots of recipes but this one looks similar to how my mother-in-law makes it. The mint/peppermint is very easy to grow and some people, like Kayla, make a concentrate from the leaves to enjoy year round. I never thought about it but I wonder if it is more of a regional thing?

    Megan- I occasionally use ziploc freezer bags but most of the time I use these freezer boxes. I love them because they can be used over and over, they stack nicely and they also help prevent freezer burn. I live in an area where there are lots of little Amish run stores and I found mine at one of them (they were a bit cheaper). You could probably contact the company that makes them to see if there are any stores in your area that carry them or just order them from Amazon.

    Margaret- Yes, freezer burn is really annoying! What foods have you had issues with getting it? Honestly, I’ve rarely had problems with it and when I have it’s been more with things I store in my fridge freezer. (Maybe because we open it more and it doesn’t stay as cold?) In talking to my hubby and mom, I’ve concluded that the big thing that helps prevent freezer burn is proper packaging. As I mentioned in my reply to Megan above I use mostly freezer boxes. I’m pretty certain that the sturdy plastic helps keep freezer burn at bay. If I use Ziploc bags I always use freezer bags and have found that the name brand ones do seem to provide better protection. If you use them, try to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. And if you freeze a lot of meat, my mom loves her freezer paper (I’m pretty sure Walmart carries it). It’s kind of like wax paper but heavier and made specifically for freezer use to provide more protection. I often put ground beef and similar things in my freezer boxes and if I have a plastic wrapped meat package that I don’t think I’ll use within a couple of weeks time I have even wrapped it in plastic wrap to give it more protection. Does that help?

    Donni- Yes, freezers are excellent to preserve food from your garden! (Wish I had space for a one- would love the savings and fresh produce!) I wouldn’t have known that freezing hot peppers made them hotter though. Good to know!

    Jen- Ah, berries are perfect to freeze. I’ve thought of trying a vacuum sealer but so far have not. I know different people that have them and love them!

  9. [...] $66 of this was for two 20 lb. boxes of blueberries that I bought at a local Amish store.   We ate some fresh and then I froze the rest and will use them in smoothies, baked things and for just plain eating.  I’ve bought blueberries in “bulk” like this for the last number of years and just assumed it was way cheaper.  This year, after I purchased them I suddenly had this nagging worry that it wasn’t actually cheaper after all.  So when I was at Giant this week I checked the price their on their frozen blueberries and was happy to see that yes, I’m saving a bundle!  They wanted $3.29 (or something close to that) for 12 oz. of frozen blueberries.  I only paid $1.65/lb!  This is one of the many ways that my freezer saves me money. [...]

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  11. [...] Speaking of freezers, you might enjoy this post: When should you buy a freezer? (And 4 ways our freezer saves us money.) [...]

  12. [...] and even soups.  We’ll either just have that food twice in one week or, since I have plenty of freezer space, I’ll freeze it and pull it out later for an easy [...]