Money Saving Tip: Freezing Leftovers and Other Food

14.89 ounces or nearly a pound. That’s how much food a 2018 study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture found that Americans waste every day. Think how much money we would save if we actually got in the habit of freezing leftovers and other food instead of throwing it in the trash. 

Photo of baggies of frozen chili sitting on a counter as an example of freezing leftovers and other food

Leftovers truly are one of the biggest culprits for this. How many times do we have just a little bit leftover? “Not really enough to do anything with,” we often think. But what if we started freezing leftovers and later on find a dish that we could make by combining all of the “just a little bits” from several meals? Or declare one night of the month “frozen leftover” night and just let everyone take a little of this and a little of that to make their meals. Better yet – if you plan to do this on a night when you know you’re going to be short for time, you’ll not only use the food that you’ve already paid for and made, you’ll more than likely save yourself the added expense of grabbing something on the go. 

This doesn’t even take into account the fruits and vegetables that we don’t use before they go bad. Freeze them! All of those bananas that go bad?  Freeze them! But take them out of the peel first. Smoothies are actually much better with frozen bananas than fresh ones. If you don’t know how to freeze fruits and vegetables, be sure to check out this article from allrecipes. 

If you have meat that you didn’t use when you had planned, don’t let it go bad. Freeze it! You can always thaw it two days later, but if you don’t know when or if you’re going to use it, err on the side of freezing it so that you have the choice of using it later. 

Pro tip: Always keep FREEZER baggies or reusable freezer-safe bags on hand for freezing leftovers and other food. These must be freezer bags and not storage bags. I suggest having both quart and gallon size so that you have what you need when you need it. I also recommend using the kind that close with a slider as opposed to the press seal so that you can be sure it’s properly sealed. 

Target has the best deal on baggies right now. You can buy a box of Up & Up gallon slider freezer bags for $3.49 for 30 bags. That’s not quite $.12 per baggie. You can get a box of Up & Up quart slider freezer bags for $3.49 for 40. That’s not quite $.09 per baggie. Hefty quart freezer slider bags are on sale for basically the same price if you have the Target Circle app. They’re 25 percent off the regular price of $3.99 for a box of 35 baggies. That sale goes through November 23. 

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