One of the ways that I have saved is by using our freezer. And no, I am not referring to the one above our fridge. I am talking about our chest freezer...a big old beast of a thing. In fact, it is over 20 years old! We got it from my parents and were skeptical that it wouldn't last long but it is still running quite well and does a fine job! And just in case you are wondering, we didn't notice a jump in our electricity usage either when we got it.
Back to how we save with our freezer. There are a number of ways that I have saved money by using it. One is by buying things in bulk. I almost never buy shredded cheese, lunch meat, ground beef, or chicken in small quantities. For instance, I will buy shredded cheese in large 5 or 10 pound bags which I then divide out into quart sized freezer bags and put in the freezer. Shredded cheese freezes quite well and I have never noticed it seeming weird. When I am ready to use it I just get it out a couple of hours in advance and let it thaw. I can usually save around 50 cents a pound by doing this. In fact, I have also frozen blocks of cheese with good results as well. I'll try to do a post soon detailing how to do that.
I do the same thing with lunch meat, ground beef and chicken. I buy 10 lb. packages when it goes on sale and then divide it out into 1lb. portions for the ground beef, weeks supply of lunch meat per bag or several pieces per bag for the chicken and freeze them. This saves me anywhere from 20 to 50 cents a pound. That might not sound like much but you multiply that by 10 and it becomes a bit more significant!
When I need to brown ground beef for a recipe I also like to do double the amount I need and then freeze the extra. It makes it so handy to have that when I am in a hurry to make something for supper. Plus it saves electricity and time too!
Using my freezer to store frozen vegetables and fruit that I buy in season is another way that I save money. Some of the things I freeze are green beans, corn, pumpkin, peppers (for on pizza), lima beans, peas, peaches, applesauce, blueberries and strawberries. I love freezing my own produce or produce that I get from local growers. I know what kind of product I am getting and I can get it cheaper in season than I can if I try to buy it off season when I am wanting the product. Also, by buying large quantities I save money too.
I also save money by using my freezer to store things that I stockpile. For instance, maybe I found bread for sale really cheap. I will buy several loaves and freeze what we won't use immediately. Or maybe there is a sale on Kashi frozen waffles and with coupons I can get them for 20 cents. Well, since I have my big freezer I can get 10 boxes, use them as we need them, and have some cheap meals.
I also save time and electricity by making large batches of cookies, bread, rolls, etc. and freezing what we won't eat immediately. Again, I love the convenience of being able to pull something out of the freezer when I am in a hurry. I also make double recipes of casseroles and soups and freeze them too.
One of the keys to saving money by using your freezer is to stay organized. It is very easy to just sort of throw things in and soon you have no idea what you have and therefore can't efficiently use your frozen food.
If you have a freezer use it! No, you won't become rich fast by utilizing these ideas but it will help you save. And I am a firm believer that every little bit helps!