Frugal Living: The Freezer Challenge Continues

By ERIN TURNER

Over the last couple of weeks since my blog about our family’s Freezer Challenge, I’ve been thrilled to hear from so many people about their own Freezer Challenges. It sounds like you all have been having fun, saving money and cleaning out those freezer. Thanks for sharing your successes with me!

Our family has been enjoying this month’s Freezer Challenge a lot.  While it has been different than our strict Pantry Challenge where we are completely limited on buying anything during the month, this challenge has given us some freedom.  Last week, we went to the store and only bought fresh veggies and fruit.  This allowed us some variation in our meals and as always, I love having fresh fruit for the family to snack on.

Meatball sandwiches Erin Turner

BBQ Meatball Sub Sandwiches topped with cheese…whoknew?

This freezer challenge has forced me to be creative and think outside the freezer box when it comes to meals.  The other day I perused the freezer for dinner options and I saw a bag of homemade meatballs, a bag of hoagie buns and some shredded cheese.  Could there be a meal there?  Well, sure!  I ventured to my pantry and pulled down a bottle of BBQ sauce which I had picked up at Albertson’s for 25 cents this past summer.  BBQ Meatball Sub Sandwiches topped with cheese were just the ticket. Matched up with some of fresh broccoli we bought, this was a super meal which our family loved.

We have stayed well under budget this month for groceries, plus we have done a great job using up items in our freezer that may have otherwise been forgotten and eventually tossed.  We have also freed up a lot of room in our freezer so now we can organize it in hopes of using items more efficiently and not losing them in the bottom.  It is such a rewarding feeling to get control of the “freezer frenzy”.  Some days I didn’t even want to look in the freezer because of the chaos in there. Now, it’s a whole different story!

I have to share this funny story with you!  After dinner the other night, my husband and I were talking about the freezer challenge and I was raving about how the meal that night was completely out of our freezer and how I’ve really been faithful about using something out of the freezer everyday, if not every meal.  To which my husband said, “Yeah, so have I!  I found the ice cream and every day I eat it!”  Leave it to Jon to do his part!

Icecream Jon and Gus

The boys doing their part on the FreezerChallenge.

Another benefit of our month long Freezer Challenge came to light today.  We are sitting here in Missoula waiting for a major winter snow storm.  They have been warning us for a couple of days about this pending storm.  Today, I heard numerous people saying they were making a last minute, mad-dash to the store to stock up just in case things got ugly.

I have to admit, the thought of running to the store didn’t even cross my mind when I heard about the storm.  That’s because our philosophy for shopping has always been to stock up when items are at their rock bottom prices.  Primarily we do this to save money, but we also do it for times like these.

I’ll bet if we ran to the store to “stock up” in an emergency, we could potentially spend most of our monthly budget in that one trip.  Instead, we are always searching for the lowest prices on the items we use and stocking up a reasonable amount.  Thus saving us money AND giving us peace of mind.

Big Book of Freezer Cooking

It’s a nice feeling to watch the snow pile up and rumors of “Snow Days” being passed around among the kids, knowing that whatever Mother Nature throws our way that we will be prepared without having to spend a single penny.

So as our Freezer Challenge goes into its last week, we realize our Challenge this year has had more benefits than just saving money.  It has opened our eyes to how we utilize (or rather underutilize) the freezer space and it has made us realize the importance of stocking up and being prepared.  Oh, and  most importantly…Jon learned where I hide the ice cream!

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 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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