If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve probably experienced sticker shock over how much things cost now. If you’re not into super couponing or if you’re trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and even organics, you’ve likely see your grocery bill rise routinely.
That doesn’t mean you need to give up and start clipping coupons and buying boxed food for pennies. It just means that you need to have a different strategy.
The time to adjust your grocery shopping is now, when fresh produce is abundant and cheap. One of the easiest ways to take advantage of summer’s low prices is with a deep freezer.
Benefits of a Deep Freezer
The main benefit of a deep freezer is that you can preserve the freshness of this season without the hassle of other preservation methods such as canning. You buy items like produce when they are at their lowest price of the year and freeze them to enjoy later in the year when prices are sky high.
We love to eat grapes, but we’ve been trying to eat only organic produce. At $3.99 to $5.99 a pound, organic grapes are rarely affordable for us. For about 9 to 10 months of the year, we just don’t buy them. However, this week, Whole Foods had organic grapes on sale for $0.99 a pound.
I bought 25 pounds. Yes, yes I did.
Then, I washed and dried them all and put them in the freezer. Now we have grapes for the winter for smoothies or just to eat frozen. I bought 25 pounds of grapes for what it would typically cost to buy 6 pounds.
Every time a different fruit or vegetable comes in season, stock up and preserve them for the winter when prices are higher.
If you grow a garden, preserve your excess the same way. We love to blanch greens like spinach, kale, collards, and Swiss chard for soups in the winter. Simply boil them for two minutes, and then immediately transfer the greens to ice cold water for two minutes to stop the cooking process. Dry thoroughly and then freeze. So easy.
The savings aren’t just on produce, though. Did you know that you can freeze eggs? Simply scramble a few of them and add a dash of salt and freeze uncooked. Use in your baked goods as usual after they thaw.
Milk, too, can be frozen. (Just make sure to open the container and pour out a little so the milk has room to expand when freezing.) I’ve done this before; the milk does separate a bit, so you’ll need to shake it up before you drink, but I didn’t notice a taste difference.
Buying a Freezer on the Cheap
Buying a new freezer can be expensive. However, you should be able to find used ones on Craigslist for $100 or less. Of course, the newer the model, the better the energy efficiency and the lower your electric bill.
You can also put out the word to family and friends. Chances are someone has a deep freezer in their basement or garage that they’re not using and would be glad to get rid of.
If you have a family of four or more, chances are you’ll be able to recoup the cost of the freezer and start saving the first year you buy one. If you’re single, recouping your savings might take a bit longer, but, you, too, will be saving overall.
Do you have a deep freezer? How do you use it to save money?