Heroes of the Frugal Freezer

I love my freezer. Well, make that freezers. In addition to the small icebox up above my standard fridge, I’ve got an additional small freezer in which I stockpile items we use regularly as well as surplus I’m able to snag while on sale. Freezers are great. They work better when they’re full, and so do I. If I’m out of an item inside the fridge, it usually takes little more than a quick dip into the freezer to replenish the stock on hand. But naturally some stuff freezes better than others. Here’s a quick rundown of the who’s who and what’s what when it comes to naming the heroes of the frugal freezer.

Freezer

Frozen vegetables are not only convenient, they can often be had for much less money than their fresh counterparts in the produce aisle. Take frozen spinach, for example, a brick of frozen spinach can usually be had for less than a buck! Imagine how much fresh spinach would have been required to cook down to that exact same amount. Now take a moment to consider the amount of work to wash, trim and steam it all. ‘Nuff said.
Butter is another great freezer filler hero. Whether you opt for margarine or true dairy butter, both freeze well and can be thawed out quickly and easily in the fridge. Never pay full price for either again. Instead, stock up and throw it in a deep freeze when you can snag it at a great price.

Cheese freezes incredibly well. If you doubt me, take a walk through the frozen entree aisle. From frozen lasagna to frozen pizza to frozen macaroni and cheese, cheese freezes well whether you do it yourself at home or pay the pros to do it for you. I purchase shredded cheese in bulk, divide it into more manageable 4 cup portions and then freeze for ease of use. (Do not, though, sliced cheeses do admittedly become crumbly after freezing and thawing. Small potatoes, in my opinion, for the amount of savings to be had!)

Frozen juices are often a staple of any household with young children. Easy to whip up and a welcome departure from ho-hum water, frozen juice concentrates offer the convenience of requiring little freezer space combined with much smaller price tag of the premade versions. These little cylinders do a nice job of keeping your freezer full (a full freezer costs less money to run), are easy on your budget and can help breathe new life into an otherwise boring meal. (As a mom, I know that sometimes all it takes is some yummy juice to help make leftovers much more palatable to little mouths!)

Frozen bread dough may not initially seem like a frugal hero, but when you consider all that it can do you might just agree with me. From yummy pizza dough to fresh dinner rolls to sweet rolls to calzone or breadsticks, frozen bread dough can transform in a variety of ways and can often be snagged at a great deal courtesy of coupons and/or sales. The next time you’d like to reach for a little convenience, don’t sacrifice your bottom line to do so. Instead, reach for a loaf of frozen bread dough stashed in your freezer!

Photo credit: Andy2Boyz

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit ThrivingOnEmpty.com to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

2 Responses to “Heroes of the Frugal Freezer”

  1. 20 and Engaged |  Jul 05, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Frozen vegetables are sooooo helpful! Pop them in the microwave and they’re ready in a few minutes. Steamed to perfection.

  2. Shannon Medisky |  Jul 05, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    They’re also great for pulling together quick and easy (AND inexpensive) soups and stews. Good for you, no prep work and super easy on your budget, too!