An excerpt from my forthcoming book, “It’s Me or The Coupons.”

Save Money on Food by Filling your Freezer

Is your food budget still bugging you? We’ve looked at some pretty powerful ways to see real savings on your budget and eat well at the same time. Some times its about getting your groceries for a fraction of what you could have paid. And sometimes its about cutting down on the amount of money you spend eating out.

Eating out can take a huge chunk of your food budget. This isn’t to say that you should never eat out, only that it should be limited to what fits into your budget and that you  don’t  eat out by default. Having a meal plan and a well stocked pantry are both big steps toward eating out less. If you only do those two things you’ll be saving a lot of money, and eating better too.

Another way to save even more time and money is to keep some home made meals in the freezer. This tip will keep you from eating out because of unexpected changes in your schedule, because you discovered your lettuce has gone bad, or because you’re not in the mood for what’s on the menu. Just go to the freezer and take out a delicious home made meal!

The idea is to make some meals ahead of time and freeze them. You can go all the way with it and freeze enough entire meals to feed your family for the month, or you can do something as simple as cooking up a batch of ground beef to use in recipes.

Let me just say that I do not do a month’s worth of cooking in one weekend. The idea is great, and it sure cuts down on repetitive tasks. For each time you would have washed a skillet,or chopped an onion in a month, you are now doing it only once. Its a great time saver. The problem comes in when you see what a huge undertaking it is to plan for, buy for, and cook 30 individual meals in a weekend. It isn’t long before “cooking weekend” becomes a four letter word.

Instead, what I do is batch cook. You can do this on a very simple level by making two of each dish you make and freezing one. I don’t always do that because not everything taste good after its been frozen. (and, yes, because I get on auto pilot in the kitchen and I forget to make two!) What I do is make several similar dishes at once and it takes me about 45 minutes. For example, in about that amount of time I can prepare several batches each of taco meat, vegetable soup, shepherd’s pie, pizza filled rolls, and sloppy joes. And instead of washing that pot… lets see… 20 times, I only have to wash it once. That might add up to enough time to make dessert!

There is just something comforting about knowing that there is always something we can eat in the freezer. We don’t have to go out and buy fast food that we didn’t even really want just because something happened to my dinner plans. It’s also nice to know that if company drops by, or a friend has a need, I’m covered. I’ve got something I can pull out and share with company or bring to a friend.

There are lots of books that can walk you through cooking for the whole month, if you want to give that a try. If that’s a little more than you’re up for, maybe batch cooking is for you. For help getting started click here. By signing up for my newsletter you’ll receive a free segment from my freezer cooking series.

Start small with maybe some ground beef or maybe a few batches of chili.  The next time you’re making something that freezes well, go ahead and make two. You’ll love that feeling of making two dinners in the time it takes to make one, and knowing that you have just saved your family the cost of eating out again.