Deep Freezer: Saving Money and Staying on Track
First of all let’s explore what a deep freezer is and what it does. A deep freezer is either a chest style or standing freezer that is completely separate from a refrigerator. It’s main purpose is to quickly freeze foods and keep them at very low temperatures for an extended period of time. Depending on the style freezer you choose you’ll either get more interior space with less organization (chest freezer) or more organization but less interior space (standing freezer).
Now what are the benefits of a deep freezer, and why do you need one? Well, deep freezers are a great investment for anyone who plans on saving money while eating a more nutrient rich diet by: buying in bulk, buying in season, growing your own fruits and vegetables, and meal prepping. Plus they’re incredibly convenient. Having weeks, or even months of food prepped and saved in a deep freezer can save you hundreds of hours per year on planning and cooking meals, driving to the store, and grocery shopping.
Since they are available in energy efficient models you don’t have to worry about spending all of the grocery money that you’ve saved on your new electric bill either. The initial cost can run you anywhere from $300 to over $1000 depending on the size and the model that you choose but you will find that the amount of money you save over time will make this financial investment well worth it (even calculating in yearly usage costs). Let me show you what I mean.
The initial cost of a Kenmore 9.1 cubic feet chest freezer is about $300. It uses 222 kilowatt hours per year, and at a national average of roughly $.10 per kilowatt hour, you’re looking at about a $23 increase per year to your electric bill. With an average life expectancy of about 8 years, you’re looking at an investment totaling around $484. Keep in mind that’s for a total of eight years worth of freezer storage. For this to be a profitable expenditure all you need to save is $5.04 per month on your grocery bill.
The initial cost of a Frigidaire 20.5 cubic feet standing freezer is about $1,200.00 and it uses 484 kilowatt hours per year. Using our same national average of $.10 per kilowatt hour, this model will add about $49 per year to your electric bill. The average life expectancy of this freezer is also about 8 years, so in total you’re looking at a $1,592 investment. Again, this is over an eight year time span. To make this a wise purchasing choice you would need to save $16.58 in your grocery budget per month by using the freezer.
Obviously the larger Frigidaire model would be used in larger family homes (5-9 people), due to it’s 20.5 cubic feet interior capacity, while Kenmore’s 9.1 cubic feet interior capacity would be better suited for smaller family homes (1-4 people). The food budget savings then turns out to be fairly even, per person every month.
So how do you save that money on your grocery bill and make the purchase useful? By using the same tips listed above: buying in bulk, buying in season, growing your own fruits and vegetables and meal prepping.
Let’s focus on beef, since meat is one of the most expensive aspects of most people’s grocery budgets. Buying grass-fed beef in bulk is easy, if you have the storage space. It’s also much healthier. Since you’ll be cutting out the middle man and dealing directly with the rancher or farmer you can be sure that your beef is completely grass fed and not finished on grain.
Finding a local rancher or farmer is as easy as using google. Just type in “grass-fed beef + your zip code and a list of local providers should pop up. Their prices will generally range from $1.25 to $3.50 per pound depending on your area and their supply capacity. You can order a full cow, half a cow, or a quarter of a cow and pay per pound of beef that you’ll be receiving. The size of your family, and the amount of beef you eat will directly correlate with the amount of beef you decide to buy.
For comparison purposes, let’s assume that you’re buying 90 pounds of beef. If you buy from a local rancher or farmer for you are going to receive ground beef, ribs, brisket, steaks, roasts, and tenderloin and pay roughly $3.50 per pound. That’ll cost you about $315. That’s too much meat to store all at once without a deep freezer though, so if you don’t have one you’ll have to buy the same 90 pounds of beef from the grocery store sporadically.
To stay consistent we’ll compare these prices to Whole Foods’ grass-fed beef options, but we’ll stick to ground beef (since it’s cheaper and the more popular choice).
At Whole Foods a single pound of ground beef will cost you $7.99, so those same 90 pounds (but at a lower quality cut) are costing you $719.10 instead of $315. That’s a $404.10 difference. Depending on how much beef your family plans to consume that could last you 4-12 months. Say you actually stretch that beef out and make it last 12 months, even your larger and more expensive Frigidaire freezer saves you $1,640.80 over the span of 8 years, and that’s if you only use your deep freezer to store meat. (Note: The smaller and less expensive Kenmore freezer would save you $2,748.80 in eight years.)
Buying your fruits and vegetables in the peak of their season guarantees that you’ll purchase them at the best price. Having your own deep freezer guarantees that you’ll always delicious blackberries in the middle of winter, and that you can make a nice hearty stew with fresh tasty radishes in the fall.
Supply and demand of fresh, in-season produce pushes the prices lower than out of season fruit by as much as 53%, depending on your region. You won’t have to worry about the inflation of imported prices or the presence of pesticides on your fruit when you buy fresh and local in season and freeze extra for later.
If you’re not sure when you’re favorite produce are in season be sure to check out our chart below.
|Produce||Peak Season (Best Time To Buy)|
The cost of planting soil, seeds, and water are all minimal compared to the cost of buying produce at the store, or even your local farmer’s market. Need convincing? Here are the facts and figures for you.
If the soil in your yard has decent texture and breathability you can save some money and just use what you’ve already got. You’ll want to add some nutrients to it and a quick and inexpensive way to do that is by contacting a local farm for aged manure. Many farms will offer it to you for free (if you pick it up yourself), and those that charge will have fairly low prices (about $20-30 per truck load).
On the off chance that your soil lacks the necessary textures and breathability for producing growth you can buy a 40 pound bag of topsoil at your local hardware store for about $3 – $7 (that’ll cover about 4 square feet). To be safe let’s say you want to garden in 16 square feet so you need 4 bags at $7 and you decide to get a truck load of aged manure too, just to be safe. Without seeds and water you’re all in on your gardening budget for about $58.
You can get a packet of seeds for $.50 – $3 and they’ll normally have between 800 and 2,000 seeds. One packet will harvest about 40 feet of garden so let’s say you use half of your $3 packet, but can only harvest half of the vegetables by the time they’re ripe. That puts you at $61 for 400 fruits or vegetables. Can you do that at your local grocery store with any fruit or vegetable choice?
We’ve already discussed in great detail why meal prepping is necessary to your overall health and well-being but now we’ll tackle why it’s necessary to utilize your deep freezer to expand your meal prep and enhance your financial benefit.
When you fail to meal prep you’re setting yourself up for failure in your diet, but you’re also costing yourself more money than you probably realize. This is due to the fact that when you do not meal prep you are more likely to buy food on the go, whenever you become hungry. Those $8-$12 per day can quickly add up. For arguments sake we’ll say you don’t meal prep at all but you eat breakfast and dinner at home, only eating out for lunch. Also let’s say that you spend the minimum of only $8 per day on lunch. That means that in one week you’ve spent $40 and in a month you’ve spent roughly $174, making your annual lunch budget $2,080.
Meal prepping takes only a few hours, one day per week, and can literally save you thousands of dollars, not to mention a ton of time. The average meal prepper spends about $80 per week on food at the grocery store. With 21 meals to account for in the week that averages out roughly $3.80 per meal. When these meal preppers take their lunches with them during the week (and avoid the cost of eating out) they’re average lunch cost is $19 per week, but that has already been accounted for in their grocery bill. Even so this gives them a weekly savings of $21, a monthly savings of $91, and an annual savings of over $1,092. I bet you can think of better ways to spend a thousand dollars than on lunch.
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