Tips like these helped us pay off $127K in debt. You can read our story in Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
The freezer is a frugal person’s best friend. You can stock up when items are on sale. You can prepare for busy seasons of life with pre-cooked meals on hand to thaw and cook in no time flat. You can “rescue” food ready to go bad and save it for a later date. But what exactly can you freeze? How long does it last? How can you maximize a small space and meet your family’s needs?
Believe it or not, many dairy products can be safely frozen and then thawed. Milk, cheese, cream cheese, and even eggs can be frozen. This allows you to capitalize on great deals at the grocery store and always have staples on hand when you run out, avoiding those “just one trip” shopping excursions that cause you to overspend. If you freeze milk, be sure to pour out a small amount because it will expand as it freezes and you don’t want to burst your jug. There are multiple ways to freeze an egg (hard boiled, cracked, beaten, whites) and they can last up to a year.
A hot breakfast is ideal but doesn’t always happen in our house because of the convenience factor. Instead of buying pricey pre-packaged, pre-cooked toaster pancakes and waffles, make your own. Make an entire box worth (or more) of mix and freeze in a gallon Ziploc bag or in serving sizes of 2 or 3 in individual bags. To reheat, place in the oven, microwave, or toaster. You’ll save plenty of money and have a hot breakfast in no time at all.
We made almost all of the the Princess Youngest’s baby food when she was an infant. The best way to store it was in ice cube trays in the freezer. Typically, I would slow cook fruits and veggies all day and then spoon them in the tray, cover tightly, and freeze. When we were ready to feed, we would pop out one of the food cubes and allow to thaw or heat on the stove. You could choose to microwave it too.
For years, I made the Princess Eldest PBJ for lunch. Each Sunday, I would make sandwiches for the entire week, topping them with her favorites and then using a special kitchen tool to seal the edges. I placed them in individual bags and then in the morning when I packed her lunch, I simple tossed one into her lunch. This kept her lunch cold (instead of using an ice pack) and by lunch it was completely thawed.
Preparing dried beans instead of using canned beans is much more cost effective, but it can be messier and more time consuming. Soak and prepare the beans (this is the recipe I use). Then bag 1-2 cups in individual bags. Flatten them out and stack on top of each other. Thaw or put in soups or casseroles.
We LOVE soup but many times we tire of leftovers. This Hidden Veggie Tortellini Soup makes such a huge batch that I often fix half for dinner and freeze the second half. You can seal in airtight container or again use a gallon Ziploc bags.
Buying meat in bulk means you can get a much cheaper price per pound. However, no one needs to cook such a large amount at once. I love to score a great deal on pork loin and then portion it out into several different meals. No matter you choice of meat, buying a large quantity and either cooking it and then freezing or cutting it into meal sized portions and freezing raw helps you to further your dollars.
I want to know how you use your freezer to save money! Leave your best tips in the comments!
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out Inspiration to Pay Off Debt: 30 Days of Encouragement from the Queen of Free on Kindle.
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