I’ve always believed that frugality is a never-ending learning process. I’ve had some success, but I also make mistakes.
The key to those successes is that I try to learn from the mistakes.
This weekend I decided that I needed to go through my refrigerator freezer and my big chest freezer and organize it better.
I found a few items buried in the bottom of the chest freezer that were so badly freezer burned, they were barely recognizable. Some of these items were older than my kids.
I hate wasting food, so I’ve since mapped out a plan to make sure that I make the most of my chest freezer.
Organize by type of food. I’ve grouped all the chicken together, all the beef together, and all of the fruits and vegetables together.
Organize by date. I rotate the oldest items to the top so that they get eaten first.
Make a list. This is by far the most useful trick I came up with. I wrote down every single thing that is in both freezers. Now I know exactly what I have and can plan my menus accordingly.
Make a menu. Now that I know what I have in my freezer, I can plan my menus around what’s in there. Use what you have and it won’t go to waste in the bottom of the freezer.
Use the best food storage you can afford. Of course, there’s always a risk your food storage method may erase some of your savings, but if you’re planning to stockpile meat, fruit and veggies when they’re on sale, it’s a good idea to store them properly so they last.
Keep your freezer full. It will be more energy efficient to keep your freezer cold than to try to keep an empty refrigerator cold. And don’t have a freezer in your detached garage… we’ve done that… Sure, it doesn’t run much in the cold of winter, but all summer long the electric bill is insane. Keep your freezer in a location that is convenient and you’ll be sure to remember to use what’s in there.
Have a back-up plan. If the power goes out, your chest freezer should keep your food cold for 48 to 72 hours if it’s not too hot outside and you don’t open it. Beyond that, things get dicey. Have a plan for what you’ll do during an outage. Will you put your food in coolers, take it to a friend’s house who has power, or get a generator? Freezers quit working, electricity fails – have a plan for what to do in that situation.
I’ve had a chest freezer for many years now, and I love being able to stockpile during great sales. Having a chest freezer has allowed me to wait out snow storms and battle sickness without having to worry about running out of food.