woman putting container of frozen vegetables into freezer

Mom made good use of her freezer. She purchased food in bulk, which saved her money. Any food she didn’t immediately use, she wrapped up and popped in the freezer for future meals. And even without labels, Mom always knew exactly what was in those frozen packets.

Even as I got older and moved away from home,  Mom always made a lot of food. I would say, “Mom! You make too much!” Her response was, “How can you make a little soup?” And she was right! When you cook a large quantity, you have leftovers for another dinner or to bring to work. And you only scrub the pot once!

These days, I really appreciate her wisdom about being frugal and feeding myself. On weekend mornings, I love to cook a big pot of soup or stew. Or, I roast a whole chicken. After an hour or two, I have a nice meal and plenty of leftovers to freeze into meal-sized portions for that week’s meals.

Another way I use the freezer helps me avoid unrecyclable food packaging. I used to buy frozen veggies in a bag because, I reasoned, it was more frugal. I could use just what I wanted and save the rest of the package until next time. But unfortunately, the bags and boxes that frozen food comes in are not recyclable where I live. So now, I’ll buy a whole head of cauliflower or broccoli or a whole bunch of spinach, cook it at one time, and freeze it in serving-sized portions in reusable containers. This way, I avoid the frozen food packaging but I still save money and avoid food waste by defrosting only the food that I need.

I find it helpful to label the food I put in the freezer. I also keep a running list on the fridge of each item and the date that I froze it. This way I don’t forget what I’ve saved, so I don’t let the food go bad and have to throw it out.

By using my freezer, I get all the convenience of prepackaged food with less waste at a much lower price!

This article was originally published on February 26, 2020.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.