I could wax poetic about how a chest freezer is a glorious place where your favorite foods are kept in their original, delicious states, waiting for you to come fish them out and enjoy. I could rhapsodize about eating blueberries, strawberries, and peaches in the dead of winter that didn’t come from South America. Pesto, lentil soup, chili just as delectable as the day you prepared them. Dried fruit that never molds. Nuts that never go rancid. But I won’t.
I’ll talk cold, hard numbers. (get it? like ice!) A little disclaimer before I begin: most of these numbers are estimates and extrapolations. They are, however, true to the best of my knowledge and I’ve been conservative with my estimates.
In January 2009, we purchased an 8.9 cubic foot chest freezer for $268.20. We also purchased the extended warranty (why? I don’t know) for $84.97. The electricity to run it costs an estimated $31 per year. Thus, the freezer has cost us a total of $446.17 in the three years that we’ve had it.
I’ve chosen to focus on beef, as it’s our number one food expenditure, even though I put a lot more stuff in my freezer.Last winter, I bought a quarter of a completely grass fed cow. I paid $2.75/lb hanging weight. When I got home, I weighed everything to figure out exactly how much I spent per pound after the extras (head, hooves, and unusable bones) were removed. I came home with 89 lbs of beef. Bear in mind that I specifically asked the butcher for the organs and bones, so I ended up with a little more beef than the folks who got the rest of that animal. I paid a total of $263.34. I paid $2.95/lb for completely natural, grassfed beef. That includes ground beef, roasts, steaks, ribs, and meaty soup bones. We’ve also done a more detailed cost analysis for our latest whole cow purchase.
A pound of primarily grassfed, but grain finished, ground beef at New Seasons Market here in Portland is regularly $3.49/lb. It’s the cheapest beef they sell. And it’s grain finished. If I were to buy 89 lbs of ground beef*, it would cost $310.61. So I saved $47.27.
So I saved $47.27 on four months’ worth of beef. Multiply by three to get the savings on a year’s worth of beef = $141.81. Making a very rough extrapolation, I have saved $425.43 over the three years we have had the freezer.
This is conservative, as the kids’ caloric intake has increased dramatically since starting GAPS last year.
So, to recap, we have spent $445 on the freezer and have saved $425 on beef alone. Have I recouped that $20?I’m just talking about the beef! I freeze summer berries and vegetables when they are at the peak of the season and cheap, cheap, cheap. I buy nuts and coconut in bulk and freeze them for freshness. I make large batches of soup and stock for easy dinners and lunches. When my local farmer runs a special on whole chickens, I can buy a bunch and not worry about eating them all right away. When I’m out of food in the fridge and don’t want to go to the store, I can rummage around in there and come up with something involved protein and vege.
I can’t imagine trying to eat the way we do without my chest freezer humming away in the garage. We couldn’t afford and it would not be as convenient.
Have I convinced you yet? Great! Which freezer is right for your family?
*I know comparing 89 lbs of ground beef to 89 lbs of roasts, steaks, and soup bones is like comparing apples to oranges, but some people do only get ground when they buy a beef.