SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











Coupons Ecover

 

If you watch that show, you know that different stores have different policies when it comes to purchasing limits and coupons.  Some stores limit how many like items you can buy at the sale price, how many coupons will double, price matching, etc.  Before you head to the store armed with your detailed list and carefully organized coupon collection, familiarize yourself with the store’s policies.

 

Where can you find your store’s policies?  Most stores these days have websites.  That would be the first place I check for coupon and sale policies.  You can also enter “_____store coupon policy” into your favorite search engine.  Make sure it is as current as possible!  With the popularity of that show, stores are changing their policies a lot more frequently.  I check the internet about once a month for updated policies, as I surf for printable coupons I might need/want.  As I tend to primarily shop four stores, this doesn’t take much time.  If you can’t find the policy online, ask at the service desk when you’re at your chosen store.  They should either have hard copies available or can tell you where it can be located.

 

Why do you want your store’s policies on hand? I keep my store policies in sheet protectors at the back of my binder.  They are dated so I know how current they are.  Having a hardcopy of the policy in my binder backs me up if there is a misunderstanding at checkout.  For example, I had a cashier tell me that Brookshire’s does not accept internet coupons.  I was able to show him in the store policy that Brookshire’s will accept an internet coupon as long as it has a bar code and scans properly.  Most checkers are happy to make the customer happy, but they have to follow their store’s guidelines.

 

I think that’s all I have for store policies.  It’s important that you know them and it’s important that you have them on hand to support your successful couponing.  The better prepared you are, the more money you will save.

 

Do you have anything to add?

 

~ Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



{December 29, 2012}   Stretching My Grocery Buck

My favorite gift for Christmas this year is a gift card to the grocery store.

Gift Card Holders

Gift Card Holders (Photo credit: campbelj45ca)

Cuckoo crazy?  Maybe.  But Visa Giftcards and cash can pay bills – and often do.  A Brookshire’s gift card is only good for my belly or my gas tank. I’ve written before about my grocery budget (this card will take care of a week) and couponing. I feel the challenge all the way to my toes now.

How am I going to stretch this money and get serious bang for my holiday buck?  I want to see if I can get two week’s worth of goodies for $50.  Here is my game plan:

  1. Match my ad to my coupons (duh).  35 cents and under will triple, 50 cents to 36 will double.
  2. Plan a 2-week menu.
  3. Bring my re-usable bags – they’ll get me 5 cents off per bag.  Right now, I have 14 bags, which is a discount of 70 cents.  I think I can come up with even more by using some of my 31 gifts totes.
  4. Use my rewards points to take 5% off my total bill.

Now, I won’t be buying meat with this gift card, unless I find an amazing deal, because we have a deer at the processor right now.  I also won’t be buying paper/plastic/cleaning foo fah because I get that at CVS (my Double Extra Bucks are coming in about 3 days!).  This will be straight food.

The hurdle I may face is that we are still on Christmas Break, meaning my monkeys are home for another week.  Those extra days when I’m back at work, they’ll be eating pb&j corndogs at PawPaw’s, but for the next 9 days, they are my little pantry raiders.  I’ll plan some fiberlicious snacks to cover that.

Do you think I can cover 2 weeks’ groceries with $50?  Any tips you want to share?  I’ll let you know how it goes.

~ Katie



{December 29, 2012}   Reader’s Choice!

To quote my favorite Atlanta Housewife (yes, I’ll admit I watch those shows), EVERYBODY KNOWS I’m always looking for something to write.  Facebook hasn’t garnered much feedback, and I think I’ve handled what feedback I received there (let me know if I didn’t address something you’d like me to!), so I’m taking it to you, the reader.  What should I post next?  Tell me what you want me to write.  Honestly, I’m tired of even thinking about car shopping (that’s how I know I’m under the weather) and have been less than motivated when it comes to much else lately. So, please, my dear readers, inspire and guide me back to the road to cheaptitude. If I write it, I’ll do it, because I’m not going to write what doesn’t work for me.

 



{December 27, 2012}   Cleaning Up Christmas

I woke with a terrible sore throat Saturday with tons left to do!  Some projects were left incomplete until late Christmas Eve.  Some gift were thrown in recycled gift bags on the way out the door Christmas Day.  The North Pole vomited in my kitchen and living room Christmas morning this year.  And when we finally arrived home after celebrating with the in-laws, I settled in for a thirteen-hour nap.

Yesterday, I went to pick up the blue lemon from the Toyota dealership.  While there, I test-drove another, newer one, with many fewer miles on it.  Unfortunately, that purchase would have caused my monthly note to jump about $100, which is unacceptable during my quest for cheaptitude.  I walked away with few regrets.

Thankfully, it was an awkward shade of green, making it easier to squeeze lemonade from my vehicular situation.

Today, I took the monkeys to use their pizza gift cards at a local restaurant before (surprise, surprise) taking Monkey 2 to practice being a tree in a play (ok, I’m not exactly sure WHAT her role is, just that she doesn’t talk much, obviously cast against type.)  After dropping her at the playhouse, I took Monkey 1 to register for martial arts instruction at a school close by our house.  I took a call from the GSM at the Toyota place, trying to talk me into LEASING a Camry and increase my note $60/month – not happening.  Then it was time to pick up my tree, I mean, little monkey.

So Christmas is not yet put away.

On top of my house still being decked with boughs of holly, it could stand a thorough cleaning.  I love a good list, so that is what I’m doing today and tomorrow I’ll start checking it twice.

Kitchen Checklist

  • Wash and put up dishes
  • Clean the countertops
  • Straighten/sort cabinets
  • Clean top and outside fridge
  • Clean inside fridge and freezer – update inventory!
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Put holiday dishes/linens away

Living Room Checklist

  • Dust furniture, fan, fixtures, and frames
  • Put kids’ crap belongings away
  • Return holiday decor to storage totes – attic
  • Deal with paper monster on my desk – i.e. pay bills
  • Fold blankets and put away
  • Straighten built-in
  • Sweep/Mop floor
  • Replace Wii remote

Kids’ Bath Checklist

  • Dust surfaces
  • Clean mirror & fixtures
  • Clean countertops
  • Straighten cabinets
  • Clean tub/shower
  • Clean toilet – make Monkeys take that on?
  • Sweep/mop floor

Hall(s) Checklist

  • Dust shelves & decorative items
  • Wipe down walls/door frames
  • Straighten closets
  • Sweep/mop floors

I think that covers it all.  I really think I can break these lists down and involve the monkeys – except Monkey 1 is too attached to his new electronics and Monkey 2 has more tree practicing tomorrow.  It’s not like I have anything tough on the lists, like the bedrooms (mine is bad now, too.)  I just have to figure out how to get family buy-in. Hide the iWasteTimes under some dirty clothes, maybe? Disconnect the WiFi till the house is clean?

Suggestions are welcome if they’re positively stated!

~Katie

 

 

 



{December 23, 2012}   To Err is Human: Purchasing a Car

I am definitely human.  I err on a daily basis.  Most times, my errs are small, like putting the wrong GLE on my daily objectives, or making taco soup when the menu plan says chicken and dumplings.  Occasionally though, I make a big mistake.  Like the blue lemon.

Back in 2010, I started having major drama from my car.  It had been hit one Thanksgiving, backed into that following spring, and the engine started misbehaving around Mardi Gras in 2010.  The Chevrolet Cavalier had a reputation for being a disposable car, but I was brought up to drive a vehicle until the wheels fall off.  My first Cavalier had 140,000 miles on it and my husband talked me into selling it because it needed the air conditioner replaced (and it was a 2-door), which would cost more than the car was worth.  We sold it to a neighbor for $800 and the man’s daughter still drives it, 7 years later.  But the next Cavalier went cuckoo crazy at 60,000 miles, and I was a little cuckoo crazy at the time, so I went and traded my car for a Toyota.

I love to car shop and price haggle and test drive.  I take my time to make decisions.  But that Saturday in 2010, the day before Easter, I had my mind made up as I pulled into the lot that I would not be leaving in my (completely paid for) Cavalier.  That night, I left the Toyota dealer in a 2007 Camry with 69,000 miles on it and had signed my life away until that $18,000 plus interest was paid off.

This is not the way to buy a car.

There were issues from the start, with the financing, and the nonexistent spare key, and the owner’s manual.  Within four months (I had driven less than 1,000 miles) the check engine light was coming on all of the time.  It went to the service department four times before they decided I had cracked head gaskets.  Thank goodness it was one of those certified vehicles, with the extended warranty that they work into the price of the car.

Twenty months later (and less than 15,000 miles) I’m losing oil between oil changes.  When the booger light comes on, the levels are lower than they should be.  That one still has no explanation.

Two weeks ago, there was a horrible whining from the engine and I was really noticing acceleration issues.  $400+ later, my alternator had been replaced.

This Wednesday night, I was having more acceleration trouble but no warning lights.  Grizzly took it around the block to see if he noticed anything and almost got killed when it died in the middle of traffic.  Twice.  We had it towed to the dealer, and they loaned me a little eggroll to drive that afternoon. My last conversation with the service guy indicated that there had been some kind of rodent in my air intake tube.  It escaped when they tore my car apart.

Important to note:

Nothing that is going wrong is under warranty.

My warranty will run out in August.

I still owe over $11,000 on the car.

Kelley Blue Book values it at $8500.

My husband sees a blue money pit in our driveway.

We all make mistakes.

Following are some things I have learned about cars and car-buying:

  • Educate yourself ahead of time.
  • Get pre-approved if you can.  It really increases your bargaining power. And saves you from potential embarrassment.
  • Shop around!  Do not plan to go home with something that day.  Look at different dealerships and test drive a variety of cars in the size and price range you want/need.  I love a Camry but I won’t rule out an Altima or Malibu if I can find a better price and the car is comfy for a household of Sasquatches.  I might even extend my search to a small SUV (um, no, not really!), but I really like the gas mileage in a car.
  • Find a salesman who isn’t a jackhole.  You don’t have to be their best friend, but you will be dealing with him/her for at least a few hours, and that time should be tolerable.  When we were on our GM streak, I dealt with one salesman.  I would haggle him to death, but we both came out winners every time.  The blue lemon?  Not so much.
  • Ask for a lot more than you want for your trade.  It doesn’t always work, but I ended up with $1,850 for an ’87 Bronco II that had a bad transmission one time.  I had expected about $3-500.  Be sure to find the Blue Book value of your trade before you go shopping.
  • Try to have some kind of down payment.  It needn’t be much, but more companies are willing to finance your loan if you’re actually putting down some cash. When I bought the blue lemon, I had about 2 years left on my note for Grizzly’s truck.  That note was paid on time, with extra, every month, but that company that held the lien on the truck would not finance the lemon without a down payment.
  • If you’re buying used, look at the extended warranty that is offered.  I’ve never believed in them, or even needed them, until this car.  You definitely want to have something in place at least while you’re paying the note on the car.  Apart from the Bronco, this is the only used vehicle that has given me so much trouble.
  • Check out the service department.  Talk to people who have used the service department.  One set of my parental units purchases their vehicles at one Toyota dealer and goes to another across town for parts and service.  I like the guy with whom I deal at my dealership, even though I am often frustrated with the service.  He’s given me enough breaks that I’ll continue our business relationship a little longer.

I’m sure there are plenty of tips I’m leaving out, but my brain is pretty fried this week. I’ll make some notes and maybe add to the list later – I’ll be car shopping starting Wednesday.

Do you have ideas that you’d like to share?

~Katie

UPDATE 12/26/2012

So I went to pick up the blue lemon today and test drive another Camry.

It was a nice car.  Like I thought mine was.

It drove well.  Like mine does sometimes.

No rough idle like mine has.  That was a plus.

It was a weird green I bet nobody would steal.

HOWEVER:  the numbers didn’t work.  Thankfully, I went in there knowing there was a chance of this.  And I was perfectly comfortable shaking hands and walking away.

Could I have found a way to make those numbers work?  Maybe.  I imagine I could have found a way to come up with a down payment that would have reduced the monthly note somewhat.  But should I take that risk when I really don’t want to?  My note is already a little out of my comfort zone.  So I think walking away was the right thing to do today.

Maybe my car will break down again tomorrow.  There is actually a great chance of that, sorry to say.  But John Harvey Toyota obviously doesn’t have faith in the cars they sell (the trade offer was for ROUGH condition – and I barely drive it!),  I overpaid in the first place, and I will simply have to live with that mistake a  little longer.  I won’t settle for something just because I’m being pushed.

UPDATE 01/04/2013

I received a text today from the sales guy.  They have a car that meets my needs!

It’s an Avalon.  Which means it’s a V-6.  Which means it drinks gas.  And they come pretty standard with a “power sunroof”, which is one more mechanical thing to go wrong.

It’s an ’06.  Which makes it a year older than my car.  And too old to be Certified Pre-Owned.  Which means no extended warranty.  And too old to be financed by most banks.

The price is $11,995.  My note would go up $32 a month for the next 48 months.  I only owe 40 months on my current loan.

It has 79,000 miles on it.  My car has close to 82,000.

So let’s recap:  The sales guy at John Harvey Toyota offered to sell me a car for more money than I’m paying now, for a longer time, with almost as many miles as I already have just on an older car with no warranty and worse gas mileage.

Sounds like a steal of a deal, huh?

Sometimes I forget I have “STUPID” in big bold print across my forehead.

Now I’m just getting angry and feel like they are wasting my time.



{December 16, 2012}   Making Christmas Merry and Bright

Money has been tighter than ever this year.  On the news, I’ve heard the economy is recovering.  Well, I can’t believe it until I see evidence in my bank accounts.  Construction is not the ideal field work right now. Unless you have a rich in-law subsidizing your business or something….just sayin’.

So, like I posted before, I’m trying to get a little more creative this Christmas.  Our gifting will consist of our children, little kid cousins, and our parental units.  We’ve not even discussed buying for each other this year.  So that is pretty much it.  And if I can figure out things that I can make, that people will appreciate and use, even better.

I can’t post pics yet, just in case any of the parental units actually reads my blog posts.

My picture frame venture has turned out super cute, but I cannot locate my Mod Podge.  I need it to seal some of the foo foo I’ve added.   As a crafter, my Mod Podge is on the same level  as my Soft Scrub Spray for cleaning.  I love it and use it for every project possible (Mod Podge, not Soft Scrub).  So where is it?  Probably hiding in the misplaced  holiday tote with my stockings.  I found a recipe, but it’s not worked out the way I like.  Thank goodness it’s easy to find at Michael’s or *shudder* Wal-Mart.

For the little kid cousins, I’d love to start ornament collections.  By the time I married, I technically should have had enough ornaments to decorate a good-sized tree.  I didn’t, due to storage issues beyond my control, but should have.  Even now, every year, my mother goes to Bronner’s and buys each of us an ornament that either reminds her of us or she thinks we’ll love.  Most of my ornaments are handmade and have a lot of memories attached.  The exceptions include Mother’s finds from Bronner’s, Hallmark ornaments from Grizzly’s mom, and of course, Aunt Pat, the angel on top of my tree.  I want my own kids to have a respectable start on their Christmas ornaments, and I think it would be a neat tradition to start for the little kid cousins.

That might not be the kind of thing the in-laws appreciate, so I probably will go out and buy them some kind of toy or book.

As for the monkeys, they wrote down their 4 things, but were pretty silly about it (really, I’m going to buy a 12-year-old an iPad???) We always try to do something “big,” and after some tense discussions (I called Grizzly materialistic at one point), we’ve agreed on some electronic devices – that I can get on sale.

Monkey 2 needs bedding since she’s moved to a queen-sized bed.  I’ve taken a crack at locating a plain old pink comforter, to no avail.  I considered sewing a comforter cover, but have had the most unfortunate time crunch this year.  Grizzly found some pink camo bedding at the sporting goods store, so that is the direction we’ll go with that.  I’m will design her some “hair bobs” (Rhonda Belle’s term) and maybe some little beady jewelry.  She’s also begun to express an interest in her fashion dolls, so maybe I can make some doll clothes.  Pinterest, here I come.

Monkey 1’s room is terribly crowded since I took his bunk bed apart, but it’s a  small amount more difficult for him to make such a nasty mess. So he could use some kind of organizers.  And he loves art.  Santa always manages to bring some kind of art supplies, and I’ve seen the coolest handmade caddies on Pinterest.  I imagine he’ll also be getting some video games, if I have enough room on my handy-dandy gift card and I can find them for a good price.  Honestly, he’s not asked me for much.  Except the iPad.  Tweenagers are a little difficult to Christmas shop.  We’ll see.

On top of doing Grizzly’s and my shopping, Rhonda Belle sends money for me to do her shopping.  Every year, I fuss that I don’t have enough ideas.  Every year, I get a lot of bang for her buck.  I think she and PaPa Mac get tickled at my shopping adventures – and I give them details, from the minute I cash the check. Monkey 1 will be going to martial arts classes and Monkey 2 needs a bigger bicycle. To quote Phil Robertson, they’ll be “happy, happy, happy.”

I also do MY grandma’s shopping.  In her Christmas note every year, she thanks me for lending her a hand with the shopping.  She’s funny.  The kids get new jammies or sneakers or some other clothing items from their great-grands.  The monkeys always love what they receive.  I’ve learned to make it easier on myself than I used to!

The one thing I’m really excited about for the monkeys this year is a journal.  I found the idea in a blog or on Pinterest or something and have seen several variations.  It’s a “Mom and Me” journal.  As kids get older, it’s kind of embarrassing to discuss certain things with parents and sometimes writing helps.  I hope so.  I’m interested to see how this project works out.  I’ll probably cover that one in a separate post, with pics and all.

Note: Last night, Grizzly and I went back to Wal-Mart.  In case you’re counting, this means I’ve been to that awful place FIVE times in one year now.  Ugh.  We did get Monkey 2’s bike and a new helmet to match from Granny and PaPa Mac.  It is safely stashed at my dad’s house for now, because both monkeys are horribly nosey.  From the Great-Grands, Monkey 2 is getting 2 new pairs of sparkly jeans, a pair of sweat pants, and three shirts.  I’ll still have to shop for Monkey 1, because all I found for him was a pair of PJ pants.

At least I’m finally making progress.

How are your holidays looking?

~Katie

 



{December 12, 2012}   Sew What? (reprint)

image

My great-grandmother was a beautiful seamstress.  Her daughter cranks out quilts like a machine. My mom can whip up suits, formal gowns, and quilts like a pro. Me? I’m doing something special to sew a seam.

My grandmother taught me to backstitch, sew a button, and make minor repairs.  I never did learn to use a pattern or make a button hole.

My husband bought me a sewing machine one newly married Christmas.  I hemmed curtains,  made a few pillows, sewed a Christmas stocking. And I was done.

My sewing machine died on me a while back.  My stepmom, unable to thread a needle any longer, has passed hers on to me.

With the piles of fabric I’ve accumulated over the years, my little girl wanted a yellow skirt. I googled for easy patterns and found a 15 minute skirt. Of course, I pressed everything first to give myself guides, and it took longer than 15 minutes.

The seams aren’t all straight and it’s a little too big but I’m proud of my project. I’d love to take lessons. Who has the time?

*****

So this was a project from last summer.  And I think it may have been that long since the sewing machine has been out.  However, I found the cutest pattern for reusable shopping totes and I thought that may be a good use of some scrap fabric – and maybe a cheap Christmas project since my new alternator ate my holiday bonus.

I’d love to focus on a different project each day.  I think to schedule it would be the only way I’d ever find time to craft at all.  And making things yourself saves a bunch of money!

~ Katie



{December 12, 2012}   Getting Sauced (Reprint)

Last summer,  I discovered the Shreveport Farmers’ Market.  There is nothing like sampling blueberries and local wines by the river at 7 on a Saturday morning.

My major investment last summer was bag after bag of tomatoes.  I had seen @Teresa_Giudice’s family making red sauce on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I knew I couldn’t do anything on that scale, but didn’t see why I couldn’t make sauce from scratch.

I googled for a basic recipe.  The kids and I blanched, peeled, cored, and seeded a bazillion tomatoes. Yield: 2 gallons of sauce in my freezer.

For Christmas this year, my stepmom got me a boiling water canning kit. So as soon as the market opened,  I was there with my reusable shopping tote!

My first batch took all day and produced 4 quart jars of sauce. I spent $13 on tomatoes,  not to mention whatever else went in there, so it probably wasn’t too cost effective.

Since then, I’ve begged everyone with a garden for tomatoes! I have 12 quarts canned in the pantry and would like to do a bunch more. The actual canning is under an hour. I’m getting really good at peeling tomatoes and it’s pretty much a morning project.

Apples are really expensive still, so I may try my hand at jelly next. Who knew getting sauced would be such fun?

*****

I was browsing some old posts I’d made on a blog I’d started about organizing and came across this one.  I can’t help but think how far I’ve come since that first canning attempt (Thank you for your invaluable knowledge and guidance, Mother Earth!)  my pantry is full of jellies, long emptied of apple sauce, and I (Stingily) have only one jar of red sauce left.  And I’m still willing to share the recipe.

I really think that canning kit and trip to the Farmer’s Market helped start me on my search for ultimate cheaptitude.  I figured out that I could make things instead of buying them.  I won’t lie, sometimes the up front cost has been higher than just purchasing a can of Hy-Top 4-cheese pasta sauce.  But when you really start crunching the numbers and consider the peace of mind, knowing what went into those jars in the pantry?  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

When I share my stories with Rhonda-Belle (because I talk to her pretty much at least once a day without fail!), she tells me what valuable lessons I’m teaching my kids.  Of course, hearing the eight year old monkey say, “No, The Dora cereal is not on sale and we don’t have a coupon so we are not buying it” just makes me laugh.  But maybe the monkeys will be better with money earlier than Grizzly and I were.  Maybe they’d prefer to make their own jelly and sauce than spend ridiculous money for chemicals at the grocery.  Time will tell.

~ Katie



According to the local radio station, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. 8 days left until a two-week break and I’m kind of inclined to agree.

Today I finished my last week of 2012 lesson plans and submitted to my AP.  That’s always such a weight off my mind.  Today was made easier by showing a Sherlock Holmes movie.  Every block.  And making the kids answer questions.  The complicated, common-core kind.

What does this have to do with organizing? Ha!  You only ask that if you aren’t a teacher.  Developing my lesson plans takes nearly as much time as teaching them, if only because I almost never do the same thing twice anymore.  It’s a freeing feeling when I can get through that part of my week.  I can then work on other things.

Like the Christmas gifts I’ve been avoiding.

Knowing I won’t have time off school until the afternoon of the 21st.

And I can’t bring myself to take an urgent personal day to Christmas shop.

How do you organize your week?  My work week is easy, because it’s guided by my handy-dandy lesson plan binder.  My weekly meals are guided by my handy-dandy meal plan (though I’m still not religious about it – last week, I mixed up spaghetti night with chicken taco night).  But what about all of those appointments, school functions, and day-to-day chaos?

I love a dry erase board and used to think a dry-erase calendar would be the way to go for my family.  However, they tend to be pricey (I’m talking about the B I G ones, like hang up in construction offices) and don’t go with my decor, hodge-podge as it may be.

I’ve tried the Mom’s Plan It.  The small, spiral, weekly version is a great little planner.  It even has tear-outs for weekly menus and shopping lists.  I realized, however, that I only used it to make sure I remembered to pay all of my bills.

I like the calendars in the Household Notebook on Organized Home, but those go in a binder, and I tote enough binders (which gives me a blog idea!)  around without adding a big planner that I might not check.  And I need to have an in-my-face reminder.

Last year, at my school’s book fair, I found a calendar that looked really appealing.  It isn’t laid out like a traditional calendar.  Instead, the dates are laid out in columns.  And there were 5 columns!  One for each of us plus the canine kid.  And I actually used it.  Religiously.

I don’t have to color-code things and remember who/what is what color anymore.

Grizzly can figure out, at a glance, which monkey needs to be where each day.

And it came with stickers!

I am a little disappointed.  I’ve gotten spoiled with 15-month calendars, and this awesome one that I use only has a few weeks left.  Our book fair was last week, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy a $14 calendar when I knew I’d be pouring money into my car later that day.  I could probably figure out how to make one, and have thought about doing so for my computer, but this one is 1)cute and 2) big enough.  So I may have to bust out the Barnes & Noble discount card and go purchase one…..

So what do you do to organize your time?  Are you a purse calendar person, a binder person, or do you have another method?

~ Katie



{December 1, 2012}   Your Friend, Your Freezer

Refrigerator

 

The price of disorganization is high.  You end up with late charges on bills that aren’t paid on time, often leading to higher interest.  You duplicate purchases that you don’t intend.  Your spaces are not used to their fullest potential.

 

I’ve been there.

 

On my journey to the land of cheaptitude, I’ve really started to focus on my home.  If my home is running smoothly, everything else seems to fall in line.  For my home to run smoothly, I need the most bang for my buck.  This includes all of those spaces in my house, my real estate.  Today’s focus is the freezer.

 

My freezers are a vital component to my home.  If one stopped working today, I would find a way to replace it within a few hours because I am so dependent on these spaces.  That being said, it does no good to have freezer space if you don’t have a clue what is in there.  A disorganized freezer, like anything else, is a money-sucking waste of space.

 

My freezers are actually pretty organized.  They haven’t always been, and I understand how easily they can become a hot mess.  If you don’t have a deep-freeze, limited to just your fridge-freezer, you have to be much more conscientious about how you use the space.

 

I remember the days of breast milk bags piled next to hamburger patties.  I’ve come a long way since then.

 

I’ll begin with the set-up on my fridge freezer.  As it is in the house, in the kitchen, and more easily accessible, the only things I keep in it are my freezer-to-crockpot meals, one of each frozen veggie (I try not to buy canned anymore, unless it’s something like kidney beans), and basically anything I might use in the immediate future.  I will not keep more than one package of waffles or pancakes in the freezer in the house.  With the exception of my crockpot meals, I duplicate nothing in this freezer.  First, if it’s easily accessible, it disappears really quickly (ice cream, waffles, yogurt)  Second, I just don’t feel that it maximizes my space.  Any frozen stockpiling is in the deep freeze in the garage.

 

I used to have the most wonderful chest deep-freeze.  I think the reason I prefer that style is because that is what my grandparents always had.  Also, I could get more bang for my buck – space!  When we moved to our new house, we ended up with the fridge-style deep freeze, and I’m not crazy about it.  Most of our meat is game, processed locally, and the ground meat comes in little round packages that don’t stack well.  I have to use baskets on the shelves of the freezer to keep the meat from falling out every time the door opens, and as much as I love baskets/containers/organizing products, I’d prefer just to have my stuff sitting on the shelf.

 

I’m adapting, after 5 years.

 

  • I have dedicated one shelf of the deep freeze to bread and frozen pizza.  My maintenance number for bread is 6, so I keep 2 stacks three high on the top shelf.  My pizzas stand up like books on the rest of the shelf.
  • The next shelf holds a dish pan full of rolls of ground meat.  There are some roasts, back strap, etc. stacked in the small space next to the bin.
  • I keep veggies and other frozen dinners in the shelves in the door.
  • At the bottom of the freezer I keep juice pouches, water bottles, etc.  I do this for 2 reasons.  First, a full freezer runs more efficiently and stays frozen longer in a power outage.  Second, it saves me from buying cold packs for the monkeys’ lunches.

 

I used to use tracking forms, also, and am trying to figure out how to upload them.  With tracking forms, I always knew what was in the freezer, how many I had on hand, and so on.

 

Do you prefer a pretty, empty freezer?  Is that more organized than one that is full?

 

~Katie

 

Freezer Inventory Form

 

 



et cetera
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