Nothing gives the farsighted keeper of the larder more pleasure than having a freezer filled with a wide range of provisions. Similarly to purchased or home processed canned goods stored in the pantry, the frozen food by its very presence creates a feeling of contentment and security. Come whatever emergency – stormy weather, laid up transportation, visiting in laws – the food in the freezer awaits exploitation.
Storing food in the freezer against a later need, emergency or not, should go hand in hand with household efforts toward making every penny count in budgeting for the weekly food purchases. Putting away comestibles in the freezer makes a lot more sense in today’s economy if the cost for the food can be kept at an absolute minimum. The homeowner has more than a few options to fill the freezer to capacity with less money. Here are four:
Become a coupon clipper/saver, with this caveat: Avoid saving coupons for food no one in the household cares for, no matter the savings. Such food will only linger in the freezer, taking up precious space, losing its coupon value, spoiling. Remain selective in choosing and using coupons. Coupons for items that would be purchased in any case will provide for the greatest savings in the long run. Keeping the coupons alphabetically in a small box along with the grocery list notepad simplifies the process of selecting out the appropriate food voucher. Coupons appear in magazines and daily newspapers. Internet sites also offer coupons you can download and print out. Another source for coupons: trading with friends who also rely on them.
Notice store specials that do not require coupons. These extra incentives offered by a store sometimes have more value than coupons. Again, adhere to the rule of purchasing favorite foods, not cheap foods. While one cannot acquire coupons over the telephone, phone calls to competing stores can unearth information about items on sale. The information may help determine which store to visit on a given shopping trip. Remember, fuel costs as a part of the grocery expense, increase when unnecessary miles are put on the vehicle.
Even without coupons or special markdowns, it is possible to save quite a bit when shopping for groceries by buying in bulk amounts. Where a pound of hamburger might cost $2.99, a six-pound “family” package may cost $15.90, providing a savings of $0.34 per pound or a $2.04 over purchasing six pounds of hamburger a pound at a time. Speaking of hamburger, the vagaries of pricing occasionally results in various cuts of beef costing less per pound than hamburger. It will pay to ask the butcher to grind the meat. Not only will the “hamburger” cost less per pound, but one will know its content.
Food left in a freezer too long can become less nutritious or may suffer freezer burn. Prevention of these undesirable events requires using the contents of the freezer in a timely fashion. Rotating the food helps immeasurably in this effort. Food rotation will work differently with an upright than with a chest-type freezers. With the upright, a rotation plan might consist of using food from the top shelf and then moving on to the second shelf while restocking the top shelf. With a chest-type freezer, where the oldest food may lie at the bottom of the unit, rotation becomes a bit more difficult. Having two small chest types would increase rotation efficiency: empty one freezer completely, then work on the second while restocking the first.