How I Use My Freezer as a Frugality Tool

red cherry in ice cube by digitalart

I buy most of my food on sale. In fact, I will not buy meats, cheeses, breads, lunch meats, spices or any frozen foods unless they are on sale. Yet at home I always have a full selection of all of those things to choose from. What makes that possible is that I use my freezer as a frugality tool. Here is how that works for me.

My “frugality without sacrifice” approach to food selection involves 2 steps. The first is to buy in bulk when meats, cheeses and other freezable foods are on sale.  I buy more than I need. If chicken thighs are 99 cents a pound, I will buy 5 or 6 pounds. If chuck steak is $2.50 a pound, I will buy 5 or 6 pounds. If name brand 100% whole wheat bread is $1.25 a loaf, I will buy 3 or 4. Whether I already have some in stock or not.

The second step is to be able to store – in repackaged meal-sized portions – what I do not need until I do need it. And that is where using my freezer as a frugality tool comes in. I have found that properly double-bagged cuts of any meat can be kept frozen for a year or more without freezer burn and without affecting its taste. The same holds for all the other food items I store frozen. And that means that I can eat anything I want any time I want without ever having to pay regular prices (except for fresh fruits and vegetables).

But there just is not enough space in my refrigerator’s freezer compartment to do this. I need a separate freezer. And, believe me, the investment is worth it. For about $200, upright or locker-style freezers can be had at places like Lowes and Costco. And you might even do better on Craig’s List. Upright freezers allow better access to and organization of the contents. Locker-style ones maximize how much can be stored in the space. Either way, using my freezer as a frugality tool is my key to eating as well as I want while still saving a ton of money on what I eat.

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image courtesy of digitalart at


  1. We do the same thing, except we don’t own a deep freezer (just the ~5 cubic feet freezer that’s attached to our regular fridge).

    We still have 40-50 pounds of meat in our freezer along with a ton of other goodies, and find that to be an adequate supply of food to get us to the next set of grocery store sales or clearance meat items that randomly pop up.

    1. I gotcha. Our chest freezer also functions as a longer term food storage unit. And my wife’s spices and butchered roosters would easily overwhelm our fridge freezer.

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