Buying a freezer may seem like a costly luxury in your kitchen’s arsenal of appliances. I thought so, too. That was until at the end of 2016 I sat down and analyzed how my family spent money during the year. With a wife, two small kids, and a dog, our food bill was shocking. We don’t even eat out much, but what we were spending on groceries was eating into our ability to take vacations or pay for much needed home improvements.
So I decided to completely overhaul the way my family consumed food. I did not want to sacrifice their nutrition intake or health to save a few bucks. However, I realized that I needed to figure out how to make everybody happy and healthy without making my wallet un-happy.
So here’s what I did:
I broke down how much we were spending per month in these different food categories:
- Meat (beef, poultry, lunch meat, bacon, etc.)
- Carbs (bread, rice, etc.)
I identified the categories of food we could start buying in bulk in order to save money. It ended up being primarily meat and vegetables.
I visited all of my grocery store options to figure out what items I could really save on by buying in bulk. With an Executive Costco membership (which I highly recommend! Pays for itself with 2% back rebate each year), I realized that buying big bags of frozen chicken, for example, would save me significantly versus buying smaller packages from Safeway.
I ponied up and bought two standalone freezers:
- A large Upright Freezer to store large quantities of big-packaged bulk items
- A small Chest Freezer to organize each month with serving-sized meals that my family could quickly thaw and cook.
- I designated Sunday as my FOOD PREP DAY. I enlisted help from my wife and kids and made it a family activity! Here’s what we’d do:
- Go to the store (if needed) to replenish bulk items if the upright freezer (long term storage) was running low.
- Sit down and make a list of meals we’d like to have for lunch and dinner (breakfast is cereal or eggs for us…easy!).
- Break up into teams (2 people each) and cook the meals for the week.
- Separate meals into serving sizes of 4 (for one bag = one family meal)
- Label and place into chest freezer (short term/weekly storage)
This is so much fun for my family, and it’s win/win. I have been saving a ton of money by planning and prepping meals this way. Also, my kids and wife get involved and we make it competitive to see who can come up with new, creative recipes with the ingredients on hand!
Soon I’ll write about our top recipes so far…hint: shredded pork enchiladas are way up the list…