I’m always trying to be more productive, efficient, and simplify my life. For some reason, I’ve had difficulty with meal preparation. I am usually very good with planning ahead and saving money, but for some reason this doesn’t translate to making meals in advance.
I’m good with a slow cooker and can set up something in the morning, which usually has a couple of days of left-overs. My wife loves her Instant Pot (see review), which is perfect for when I don’t plan 7-8 hours ahead.
We have a chest freezer full of uncooked food. I buy in bulk when the grocery store has deals on meat. It saves us money… if I actually plan ahead and defrost something… or have enough time to cook it.
Feed Your Freezer First
The other day, I had an epiphany. If I use my Foodsaver with this wide-mouth jar sealer attachment and these wide-mouth mason jars, I can freeze meals for later. It only takes a couple of minutes to defrost under some hot water and microwave it.
That’s not the real epiphany. The epiphany is that I can use the personal finance axiom of “Pay Yourself First” to ensure that I build up a “savings” of meals.
So the first meal of everything that I make in the slow cooker is going in the freezer as my food emergency fund. This can save us money because we won’t be tempted to go to the restaurant simply because “There’s nothing to eat.”
What do you think? Do you have a food emergency fund?
The fun thing I see with frugality and many items in the personal finance realm is that people have to have things they feel are luxuries. Some think that spening time/money on video games, music, drink, food are their luxuries. A good friend of mine says you have to have at least one vice or you will go insane. I agree with her. Mine is food (they don’t call be Big-D for nothing).
I find something funny when it comes to people and food. Every person/generation/reigon has their own particularities. An example is that my parents don’t eat casseroles. Casseroles are “poor people” food as they were raised by depression era parents. You cooked everything separate and had separate piles on your plate. I love casseroles as it is so easy to throw things together and walk away. Like a buddy of mine who has spent about 2 years of his life in the hospital, hates soup, jello, and ice cream.
However my thing is I hate leftovers. I had them so much as a kid that I just naturally hate them. I was raised to clean my plate, and with my distate for leftovers (and re-heating food is leftovers) just makes is hard to follow this advice. It just never tastes right re-warmed up. So my problem is making foods which fill me up, but are not too much. I like you buy in bulk and have a 12 square foot freezer. However I have hundreds of tupperware (alright containers from lunchmeat and stuff) that I fill up with stuff. I buy 5 pounds on sale of cubed beef, I put it in 1/2 pound portions in 10 tupperware. I need to make something, I grab the tupperware, throw it in the sink, 30 minutes later it slides out the tupperware and I can cook it.
An example, last nights dinner. I got home from teaching at 8:00. I grabbed some beef, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of water, and 1/2 cup rice. I boiled it, and 20 minutes later it was ready. No left overs, and just enough for me for dinner (I had salad for lunch). I live alone at the moment (son is in college) so cooking for one is the key factor.
If it works for you, go for it. There are a hundred ways to skin this cat, and good luck at finding one that works for you and your family.
Yes! We do this as well. I love to cook, but with two kids 5 and under, I don’t always have time to cook every single night. I keep a number of things on hand on a regular rotation in the freezer – everything from prepared foods like sauces or cooked meals, to prepared-but-uncooked items (they taste just like I made them that night, which I pretty much did ;-) It has worked really well to help us avoid the takeout trap when we are tired and it’s 6pm already. If you ever need freezer recipes, give me a shout and I will send you a few to try.