Friday, March 2, 2012

The value of a freezer- more than just ice.

The sales on Haier freezers at HyVee and Dillons this week have me thinking about freezers. We just got our freezer about 3 months ago (for Christmas from my Dad, a rather frugal guy), and it is about a 4 cubic foot size. Generally, I would highly recommend anyone get a stand alone freezer, even if you are a household of 1! We are a household of 2.25 (the .25 being our small dog, haha.) and I use the heck out of ours.

Here are some highlights of what I've used/saved in the brief time we've had ours:

-Frozen meals- Lean Cuisines (I take these to work for lunch when I'm too lazy to pack something good). I caught a deal at Checkers when they were 6 for $10 (that is $1.66/ea). They are regularly priced between $0.50 and $1.00 more than that. I bought 12, and thus saved $6.00 to $12.00 compared to what I normally would have paid for them. (Saved  ~$8.00)

-Hams- Oh, the hams! I bought so much ham on sale after Christmas. I got a mega great deal on these at Aldi, and I bought 3 hams (about 6 lbs each) for $0.50/lb. I've seen hams range from $2.99/lb to $3.99/lb, so total I spent $9.00 on ham when at regular price I would have spent more than $50! I made so much good ham & bean soup, split pea soup, and baked ham with these. Mr. Townie could attest to that.  (Saved ~$40)

-Chicken- I've bought whole chickens and chicken thighs when they were on sale for $0.88/lb. That saved me about $1.00/lb, and I bought probably 10 lbs. I've also stocked up when boneless/skinless chicken breast was on sale- I bought about 8lb for something like $10, and it would have regularly been more like $14. (Saved ~$14)

-Frozen vegetables- There was a good deal on Target brand frozen vegetables with some coupon stacking, where I got bags of corn, peas, mixed vegs, carrots, onions for something like $0.59/bag. They are regularly $1.09/bag (maybe more?), so I saved $0.50/bag, and bought 10 bags. (Saved ~$5)

-Ground beef- Checkers recently had a deal on 85% lean ground beef for $1.89/lb, if you bought 10 lbs. So, feeling very pleased with myself, I went on down and bought 10lbs (that is a huge, gross looking tube of meat, by the way). Brought it home (Mr. Townie looked at me like I was crazy), divided it up into 1 lb portions, wrapped in them in plastic wrap, and put them in 2 big zip-top bags, put them in the freezer. We don't eat much beef, so that should last us several months! Usually costs about $1 more than that a pound. (Saved ~$10)

-Various fresh produce (Red peppers, strawberries, corn on the cob, tomatoes, etc)-  I'm not going to have numbers on these, but there have been many times I've bought produce when it was on sale (or had it given to me by friends, family, etc.) that I couldn't use up before it went bad. So, I chop it up, cook it, or whatever and then freeze it to use later! Not sure what the monetary savings have been, but we have certainly wasted a lot less food.

-Bread, buns, etc.- The monetary savings here is negligible, but the convenience is a big bonus. When I buy bread (almost always at Aldi, they have such good multi-grain bread for like $1.69!) I buy an extra loaf or two and put them in the freezer. That way we always have some on hand for emergency grilled cheese sandwiches or what have you. Also, when I find hamburger buns on sale (have gotten them for $0.50/bag at Aldi and Dillons) I can grab some of those and put them in the freezer as well- then they are there when we want to have turkey burgers.

Obviously I don't have the exact prices and savings on all of these, but even with my conservative estimates, that is a lot of money (AT LEAST $77!) I didn't have to spend over the last 3 months! Secondly, as dopey as this may sound, it gives me peace of mind to know that we have a freezer with at least a couple of week's worth of food in it, should a zombie apocalypse or bank collapse occur. :)

And while I said an extra freezer is about more than just ice-, it IS nice to have a place to stash an extra bag of ice for parties..

So if you are thinking about buying a freezer, go for it. If you bought one for $159, and you shop like I do, it should "pay for itself" by the 6 month mark, and after that it's all gravy!

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