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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this question in the meal planning section with no takers and I think is more apropriate here, since it's more of a frugal/finance dilemma.
I see many of you use an extra freezer in order to cut food costs and I was wondering if the same would apply to our situation as well.

We curently live in Brussels, Belgium on one income, prices are high to begin with and I am trying my darnest to keep our expenses low, food being the one that seems so obvious. I am thinking that it might be a good idea to get an extra freezer -- we have one part of the fridge and I can keep a couple of things in there but not a whole lot. I would like to cook ahead and freeze some meals just so that I don't labor over the stove every day but I can also cook pretty fast a decent meal if I need to.
Would it make sense for us to buy and extra freezer consider we don't have a space for it other than one of the bedrooms or living room (we're in an apartment), we use public transportation and hoarding half a cow from the store isn't really feazable and there aren't many sales going on.
But, I like the idea of cooking the extra meals, to store a couple of loaves of bread just to have them handy, bake and freeze some homemade goodies for my kids to snack on. Also, I could buy meat in the family size portions (10% off) and freeze them just in the serving amount I need. Or maybe I just need to get more organized with the space I have.
So, what do you wise women think?
Thanks!
 

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IMHO, it doesn't sound like you really have room for a freezer at this point.. do you have family or relitives that you visit often that you could visit, say, once a week and grab what you need? Or even use shelf space in someones in trade for something?

(it's my understanding that appliances are very small as compared to the ones in the states, my DH was commenting on them in Europe as being dorm size fridges)

In response to the comment about kiddo snacks and treats.. I make a big batch of cookie dough, shape into a loaf and wrap in wax paper, then stick it
in the fridge. We slice off enough for 10 or 15 bite size cookies and always have fresh ones.. it lasts a couple of weeks.

Do you have room to freeze portions of homeade soup or stew? They thaw quickly as a last minute dinner and don't take much room.

HTH!
 

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I lived in an apartment and had two chest freezers. A large one (the largest one we could find at the store), and a smaller one my dad bought us when my first was born. We made it work, they both had to stay in the kitchen but we put the smaller freezer where we used to have a microwave stand and moved the microwave to the counter, then the other one went on a wall the table was supposed to go on, then the table was just moved down a bit. Cramped yes, but certainly worth it. One freezer, the smaller one, held all the meals I'd cooked, vegetables we'd frozen, etc. The other freezer held our bulk meats, husbands hunting, and larger items like frozen milk.

It's doable in an apartment providing you have some actual space. If one of the freezers had to go in a closet or along a wall in abedroom or living room, that would have been fine with me. They've saved us a lot of money... The grocery store would routinely get rid of bananas once brown... i was sent home a whole garbage bag full of brown bananas... If I didnt have a place ot freeze them they would have gone bad by the time I got done making banana bread and stuff with. If I left them at the store, they'd have gotten thrown away ;-)

If you have space to store one, I do feel they are wonderful if you intend to cook meals, buy perishable items in bulk. You can freeze stuff like milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, buttermilk, heavy cream, yogurt, so if you bought them in bulk during a good sale it's nice to be able to stock up on, of if you make it yourself you can also freeze that.
 

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Could you compromise and get a smaller freezer that is the size of one of those smaller fridges?? I had a smaller freezer at my previous house and it was perfect for storing extras. Admit though I love my huge freezer now, but I have a larger bsmt to put it.

We kept the smaller fridge in the downstairs bathroom under the counter and no one was the wiser.
 

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How much freezer space do you have now, and how do you use it?

There is a book called "Once-A-Month Cooking" (IIRC) that contends you can fit 30 days worth of freezer meals in a standard freezer. Of course, you aren't putting anything else in at that point!

Another consideration is how expensive is the electricity for it, and are you likely to have power outages that could destroy a freezer full of food. Also, can your electric hookup support the addition of a freezer. I'm not sure how much they draw, but I know we had problem with having our fridge and a space heater on the same circuit.

A second freezer makes sense for us because we garden a lot, and can take advantage of good sales (or good regular prices) on meat and cheese. And we grow a lot of our own vegetables.

We got a medium size upright freezer. You might also consider a more effiecient chest freezer. I think they might also be available in a wider range of sizes. Some people camoflage their freezer with a cover (like a side table) or stick it behind a couch. I think that would work if it still has air flow where necessary.

I think a small freezer could make sense for cooking ahead, and for a better price on meat. I would try to do a little more of that now with your current freezer and see if you really use it. (We are in the middle of trying to use up a lot of stuff in our freezer that has been there too long. So this is a "do as I say, not as I do" post.
)
 

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If you have a standard European fridge/freezer, I understand the dilemma. The one we had could hardly hold a couple pounds of butter...

Only you can speak to how feasible it is to put one into your living space. But as for what to use it for - do you have access to seasonal produce during the growing season? Around here we can get some great deals on produce during the growing season, and a lot of it can be frozen for winter when the fresh produce is more expensive (or unavailable). Large packs of meat are also good, homemade bread dough (freeze the dough not the bread). My grandmother used to always make an extra pie crust when she'd make pies and pop it in the freezer (in the pan) for those last minute needs, she also kept freezer jam and plenty of butter on hand. Myself I stock up on nuts, fresh produce and meat. That's pretty much all that's in my freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your ideas and comments. Good point about the electrical hook-up if it would hold the extra freezer, we have to check on that.

In some ways we are still adjusting to the european way of life and what works in US doesn't translate very well here. I'll try to manage with the tiny freezer that we have and see how much of a supply I can build this way. And when I will be 100% convinced I need the extra one, I will find a way to make it happen


Thanks again, your input was really helpful!
 
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