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