Ever turn a chore into a chance to save money? That’s exactly what writer Nancy Munro did. Nancy is auditioning for a staff writer position on BargainBabe.com! Missed the audition announcement? Here it is. Each day this week we will publish one audition post.
Did this post help you save money? While I will make the final decision on who to hire, your input is extremely valuable. Here is Nancy’s audition post:
I have a job to do tonight that really doesn’t bother me. I need to organize and inventory my freezer. There’s been too much good stuff on sale recently and I’ve been buying all of it.
Chicken, ground beef, filled fresh pastas, fresh berries, even freshly baked baguettes have been so cheap, I’ve been buying, portioning, wrapping and tossing the packages into the freezer. And therein lies the problem. I’ve been doing what I call the blind-man’s throw, just stuffing and stacking wherever there’s room. At the moment, I have no idea how many hamburgers or chicken breasts currently reside in my side-by-side.
A full freezer is a blessing, of course. And there’s good reason to keep it that way:
- The freezer (and the refrigerator, for that matter) work more efficiently when full, according to the California Energy Commission, and that saves money.
- It takes a bit of shopping savvy to fill a freezer well. Concentrate on keeping the basics stashed in the freezer, and you’ll always have something for dinner. Look at the grocery circular for items on sale or check what’s in season now and freeze for later use. Would you be surprised to know that items like cheese and milk freeze well? (HINT: before freezing milk in any container, make sure you leave space for expansion. Shredding or cubing the cheese before freezing makes using it very handy when you’re in a rush). Odorous vegetables, such as onion, garlic and scallions can be chopped or sliced and frozen for later use; just be sure to wrap them well. And summer’s best fruits are also at their least expensive. Freeze berries spread out on trays first, then store in freezer bags.
- Everyone’s busy and free time is limited. If cutting and sorting paper coupons isn’t your thing, use your smart phone to download coupons and check deals. More and more grocery stores are adding the electronic coupon option to their check-outs. You’ll fill the freezer fast with less hassle.
- Check with your grocery’s meat department or a local butcher to see if a “freezer filler” deal is right for you. This is a large meat or poultry order, everything cut up, labeled and packaged for you. Typically, the total price-per-pound works out cheaper than buying the components separately. But this is only a money-saving idea if you can eat everything in the deal and you have room for all of it. Or consider asking a relative, friend or neighbor to go in on a deal and share.
- Living in any area of the county affected by hurricanes or other strong storms brings with it the possibility of losing electricity. A full freezer keeps food colder longer and out of the trash can, groceries spoiled and money wasted.
- Meal planning is easier with a full freezer. When you have it on hand, there’s no stopping at the store for “emergency” supplies, which invariably means you’ll buy more than what you need.
Don’t be afraid to use the summer season to stock up and save. Just remember to:
- Buy what you will eat; don’t buy what you hate just because it’s on sale
- Wrap everything well
- Label the packages, including the date of purchase
- Rotate your stock
- Keep an inventory (use a small whiteboard on the side of the fridge; it’s easy to change the list with a simple wipe and rewrite)
About the writer
Yazmin Cruz says
@Nancy Your suggestion to check with your local store’s meat department for a “freezer filler” deal is genius! You can even split the purchase with friends or relatives to keep cost down, and make sure all the meat is consumed.
Sensible suggestions, especially for procrastinators like me who tend to throw stuff in the freezer the way it comes from the market, then have to toss all the food that gets freezer burn! Maybe your ideas will motivate me to actually do something about my bad habits! Thanks for the idea.
Bargain Babe says
@EllieD I just the meat into thick plastic freezer bags. (Store packaging is never thick enough to prevent freezer burn.) I hate using disposable plastic bags, but I find they keep the meat free of freezer burn for several months. And I can portion out dinners by wrapping sets of meat in wax paper (or use freezer paper). Then I pull out one bundle of meat wrapped in wax paper, reseal the bag and toss it back in the freezer, and defrost what I want to use that night on a plate in the fridge. We don’t have a microwave, but I like the idea of the defrosting meat doing some of the work the freezer would normally do – saving me electricity!
Nancy Munro says
Thanks, ladies! Not only is sharing a freezer filler pack a great way to save, it encourages you to try new cuts of beef, pork and poultry.
Bargain Babe says
@Nancy Munro I’ve never heard the term “freezer filler” though I’m familiar with the concept. Filling milk jugs or other containers with water and keeping them in a less-than-full-fridge is also a good way to save energy. But will my butcher know that term?
@BB ~ I do know that using freezer bags for meat storage is best, and it helps that there are now plastic “sheets” to wrap individual servings so that several can go into one bag. I’m so guilty of procrastination that I don’t always do what I know full well is smart and practical. However, I’m going to try to be more consistent, so that I don’t let food go to waste.
Michelle C says
Great suggestions Nancy, especially where I do live in hurricane territory (keep a full freezer). Also being a mother of 2 year old who primarily drops her and picks her up from daycare, I really do need to keep down on the last minute trips to the stores. They do get expensive (due to the other stuff picked up).
Great ideas and suggestions, Nancy! You write very well.
Articulate and concise. -Enjoyable too!