Monday, November 19, 2012

of Frugal Living and Clean Freezers

I mentioned in an earlier post that Debbie and I recently had a cooking/stock the freezer day. As we were putting our recipes together, Deb asked me where I was planning on putting our take for the day. Seems like a silly question, right? I mean, of course the answer is 'the FREEZER!'.


Knowing me as she does, and knowing what my poor freezer looked like, it was actually a really good question!

You see I tend to be a freezer hoarder. Well sort of. I don't hoard freezers, but I do have a tendency to hoard items that go in the freezer, which typically results in freezer overload. Last year, this was made even worse because each time I'd buy groceries fully intending to cook at home every night, things would come up and we'd end up stashing things in the freezer and either eating PB&J instead, or grabbing a bite when we were on our way to wherever we were headed - usually the hospital or the rehab facility. When we moved over the summer, I thought I'd get it cleaned out once all of the boxes were emptied and we were settled in. Then, we had a major heatwave and it was just too darn hot to be out working out in the garage.

Alas, I ran out of excuses, so on the Veteran's day holiday this past Monday, I FINALLY got to the freezer and gave it a good, thorough going over. I tossed things that were either freezer burned or past their prime; I washed down shelves and bins; I re-organized where everything is housed. It took me over two hours to get it all done, but in the end, I had such an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction! I just have to share it with you. When Kevin saw it, he claimed that - besides the day we first bought it and got it home - this is the cleanest it's ever been. The sad thing is, he's probably right! Okay, without further ado, here it is: (Deb, don't faint when you see it...)
Isn't it wonderful! I am SO glad to have this task done. It's been on my mind and bugging me for a while; it's nice to be able to cross it off my to-do list - finally! And okay, I have to admit, I went to the store this morning to pick up a few deals and added them to the freezer. But they are all things that we need/will use shortly.

...which leads me to the frugality portion of this post.

I love stocking up on seasonal deals. Especially with grocery prices sky-rocketing, it's nice to feel like I can save at least a little bit here and there by using smart shopping strategies.

My birthday is right around the corner and Kevin wants to cook a special dinner to celebrate (how sweet is that?!). We were talking about it yesterday and he mentioned prime rib (ALWAYS my fave!). As it happened, our local Fresh & Easy stores have prime rib advertised as a seasonal special for just $4.94 per pound. The regular price is $8.99 per pound, so this is definitely a deal. F&E also has a really good spiral sliced ham (think: Honeybaked, but at half the price). It is also seasonally priced at $1.47 per pound. I have one in the freezer right now, but I always like to have a couple of these on hand. They are such a quick, festive, delicious meal - and so easy to cook. Plus, they always yield great leftovers - the ham hock for soup, bits and pieces of ham for soup and scrambled eggs, a slice or two for sandwiches. Mmmmm - all good in my book! A few more deals: celery for just .49 cents; a 10 pound bag of russet potatoes for just .98 cents; fresh green beans, buy 1 bag and get another free. A trip to Fresh & Easy was definitely in order. I stopped by there this morning (since we're off this week - YAHOO!) and did a bit of shopping. I bought all of the aforementioned items and a large stock *filled* with Brussels sprouts all for just ...$42.11! I bought a prime rib that is just under 8 pounds and a ham that's nearly 8 pounds. I was also able to use a $10.00 off coupon - YAY! So, the additions to the freezer from today's take are the prime rib, ham and 2 pounds of fresh green beans. Gotta love those seasonal deals!

My next stop was Ralph's. A few weeks ago I received a coupon for a free pound of bacon. Out of the blue - no particular reason. Sure, I'll take that! I also signed up for a Bzz campaign that includes some new products from the Ralph's Private Selection line. They were out of one of the products, so I'll save that coupon for later. BUT - I did walk away with a 1 pound package of smoked gouda cheese, a jar of tomato and sweet basil pasta sauce and a pound of bacon - all FREE. My Ralph's receipt has a verified total savings of $13.17! Over and above these items, I'd already received a one pound package of Private Selection coffee and a box of Private Selection water crackers as pack of the Bzz kit - also FREE.

I've definitely been scoring lately and finding some GREAT deals! All of this makes me one happy camper. Having a full freezer and full cupboards makes me - and our bank account! - breathe a little easier.

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