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Saving money on food shopping with your freezer
Published 30 December 2014 by Emily Bancroft
Young people are using freezers less, but the white goods could help you to save money on your shopping bill.
Freezers have fallen out of favour with young people, as one in five under-35s said they don’t like eating food that has been frozen, according to a new survey by IGD ShopperVista. Of those aged over 35, just one in 10 said the fact food was frozen would put them off eating it; showing that younger people are twice as likely to shun the freezer.
Putting people off
When you’re trying to cut back on spending and make your money go further, we admit it can feel uninspiring to pull your dinner out of the freezer, and you may be tempted just to get a takeaway to boost your mood. However, this can be expensive, and may make it difficult to budget.
People are willing to buy frozen food, as half of respondents said that they would rather store something ready-frozen that they’d bought than freeze homemade leftovers. This suggests that it could just be a lack of confidence in cooking abilities that is putting people off using their freezers as much. But if you’re looking to save money on your grocery shopping, embracing your freezer could be the way to go.
How to save
You could save money on your food shopping if you’re willing to use your freezer more, as it’s often cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk. This means you can cook big meals and put whatever you don’t eat in the freezer, and the food won’t go to waste. This can also help on long days when you’re too exhausted to start cooking a proper meal, as you just defrost as much as you need for the evening.
Check out the reduced counters at your local supermarket. They’ll often mark items with a best before date of tomorrow at a really cheap price, especially if you go in the evening. Best before dates are different to use-by dates, as the first just means that the food is best eaten before that date; it will still be safe to eat after but it may start to lose some of its flavour. You shouldn’t use food if the use-by date has passed, as this generally means it won’t be safe to eat.
You could also buy from short-dated grocery stores online, such as Approved Food or Clearance XL. These are shops that sell food that’s close to its best before date at reduced prices. They usually charge flat-rate postage, around £5.50, so it could be cheaper for you to buy in bulk and keep the food in the freezer.
One thing that could put you off heating up a meal that’s been frozen is if your freezer is badly organised, packed full, and you can’t even start looking through it to find what you want. Organise your freezer by putting meals into freezer bags and write on with permanent marker what’s in it and when you froze it. You can even save red wine, pesto and stock by freezing them into ice cubes, and just adding them into your meal when you’re ready to cook with them.
One safety tip: don’t re-freeze food once it’s defrosted, because this can let bacteria spread and make the food unsafe to eat. Try to freeze food in small portions so you’ll be able to just defrost as much as you need and nothing will get wasted.