Peter and I recently bought a seven cubic foot chest freezer!! I am so incredibly excited about this purchase! It is going to make my life easier in so many ways. We bought it just a week ago and I’m already feeling less stressed. Putting a chest freezer in our house is allowing me to do monthly shopping trips instead of weekly. This is huge, as I live 20 minutes away from our grocery store. It also allows me to buy meat in bulk which saves tons of time and tons of money.
In a month and a half I am getting my first 40 pounds shipment of chicken breasts from Zaycon fresh. It’ll be about three months worth of chicken for my family. (We eat chicken just about every other day.) Once the chicken comes then I will do another post explaining how I have divided that. It’s already planned, but things may change.
I also plan on getting 20 pounds of shrimp from Zaycon in the summer. That will be about a year’s worth of shrimp for my family. All meats that I can buy in bulk will make my monthly shopping trips that much easier. Here is the plan for my monthly shopping trips:
1st of all, my Brother-In-Law works at a grocery store and told me that the first full week of the month is usually when the best deals are. So, that’s when I’ll be aiming to make my trips, on either a Saturday or Sunday morning. I want to get there early enough to beat the weekend crowd. Plus when I return from shopping I’ll still have the whole day ahead of me to do freezer meals, prepare fruits and veggies, etc.
Obviously I need to meal plan for the whole month. I figure I’ll plan 6 meals a week. The 7th day I’ll leave open for either visiting, eating out or eating up leftovers. (Usually most our leftovers get eaten for lunch.)
A couple months ago our town got a Dollar General. So, I don’t plan on getting a whole month’s worth of milk, eggs, bread, etc. because I can do weekly mini trips to DG. And I actually prefer to do mini weekly trips for such things to save money. Because most Saturdays DG has a spend $25 get $5 off coupon. Or if I don’t have that much to spend I usually have a $3 off $15 coupon for doing a survey after my last visit. It also saves money because I use Ibotta to get cash back and they will renew coupons after a week. So, for example, usually I can get $0.25 back for a single loaf of bread a week. So it makes more sense to buy one or two loaves a week than 6 in the beginning of the month, because I’ll get $1 back instead of a quarter.
I’ve done many freezer meals over the past month or so and I plan to blog about those soon. But in the meantime here are some links I’ve found helpful:
- A general overview of freezing fruits and vegetables (Note: Since I will only be freezing fruits and veggies for use in the next few weeks, I don’t use a vacuum sealer. I use ziploc bags and with a straw I suck all the air out. I will update this if that proves inadequate.)
- Specific instructions on freezing grapes (I prefer frozen grapes to fresh grapes by a long shot. They taste like an ice cream treat!!)
- Freezer Friendly Homemade Pizza Crust (I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m super excited to!)
When deciding to purchase our chest freezer I realized people either love chest freezers or hate them! And the biggest complaint (by far) of those that hate them is that they become so unorganized, you don’t know what’s in it, can’t find what you want, etc. Obviously our chest freezer is new, perhaps I’ll have these complaints myself in a year. But for now I’ve kept an organized inventory list of what is in our chest freezer. A page with the freezer meals listed, a page with fruits listed, a page with vegetables listed, I’m sure I’ll have a page of meats that aren’t yet made into meals listed, snacks, etc. once I fill it more.
I’m glad I’m doing this right from the start with my chest freezer instead of waiting until it becomes messy. This way, writing things down as I put them in, crossing them off the list as I take them out is habit! I organize my listings like this: Date. Item. Number of items in tally form. So I have an entry that looks like this:
2/14/18: Sandwich bag of blueberries: 111
When I use a bag, I cross off a tally. When I use the last bag, I cross the line out.
I also keep everything in reusable grocery bags. I use the same categories I use for my inventory pages. In fact the top of every inventory page reminds me of what the reusable bag looks like that I will find these items in. Ex: Chicken freezer meals: Blue Walmart bag.
I’m so excited to continue this freezer meal journey and hope to have more tips to share soon!!