Over the last hundred years we have obviously come a long way in terms of labor saving devices from microwaves to washing machines to fridges. We have come to take these things for granted and they have freed up a lot of time. As a kid I can remember that the weekly wash would take all day for my mother. More than any other advancement they are the most responsible for the creation of the modern leisure time concept as we understand it.
For us though our best investment in an appliance has been one of the simplest. The humble stand alone freezer. Most standard fridge freezer combos have a decent sized freezer, but if you cook and freeze a lot of food then it can fill up pretty quickly. We decided a while ago that the best way to get past this was to get a stand alone model.
Typically these come in two types, a chest variety, that is exactly that, a large chest or an upright; these typically are similar size to a fridge freezer combo but it simply has one large compartment. We found the upright to be the better option as it takes up less floor space and has more shelves and compartments. The chest type often is simply a large vault.
In Houston we kept ours in the garage, however here in Portland our garage is detached so it makes more sense to keep it in our basement in the storage area.
The big advantage of the standalone freezer is that we can prepare food in large quantities and freeze. It is just as easy to make say four lasagnas at once and freeze three of them. The other main thing we can do is capitalize on sales, especially of meat. It is not unknown for our supermarket to have a sale on chicken thighs at $0.99 a pound or steak at $2.69 a pound; at that price it makes sense to buy multiple packs and freeze them.
Not just meat. Ice cream can be bought in massive tubs for example. If you have a CostCo or similar membership then you simply have to have a separate freezer or you will lose out on a lot savings.
There is clearly an investment required as a decent sized standalone freezer can cost $300 or more. However we are recouping that cost quickly in shopping and time savings.
We couldn’t live without one now and it is probably our most essential appliance for living a more frugal life.