For most families food represents a moderate portion of their weekly and monthly budgets. Today I am going to share what my family has found to be the easiest way to save a significant amount of money on this necessary expense. The best part about this technique, is that it doesn’t require a change in diet or any other difficult behavior changes. As most of you have guessed from the title, the simplest way I have found to save money on food is by utilizing a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer.
It may strike some as strange that the easiest way to save money is to buy another kitchen gadget (most of us already have too many of those), but when you look at the return on investment it is immediately clear how impressive the savings can be. For those of you not familiar with a Vacuum Sealer, a vacuum sealer is a device that allows you to optimize food storage. The device places a vacuum on the bag that the food is in to remove all of the air inside. This lack of air extends the shelf life of the food if kept fresh or allows food to be frozen without the risk of freezer burn like in a normal zip-able bag.
The simplest form of savings that a FoodSaver will generate is cutting down on food waste. In 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that $165 billion in food is thrown away each year. This translates to roughly $2,200 of food waste per American family. Now obviously a FoodSaver will not save this full amount, however with a first year cost of approximately $100 a FoodSaver system would only have to save 5% of this food waste to pay for itself. I know that in each of the last 3 years my family has easily saved more than $100 of meat by extending its life in the freezer.
Another significant savings related to cutting down food waste is by freezing left overs. I have always been a particular fan of eating leftovers for lunch (another $$$ saving trick), but even after lunches my family would often have food left over. Now we freeze left over food to enjoy at a later date. I have found this to also give better variety to our diet. This is a big win for me as I have always been a person whose enjoyment of a meal drops off significantly after the 2nd portion in the week. When adding up the savings of just extending the life of the food we were already buying by freezing it, I would bet that we save $30 a month or $360 per year.
The 2nd significant opportunity for savings is by strategically buying food in bulk to decrease the price per pound or unit. My family exclusively buys the family sized packages of meat now and freezes the extra for later use. This was never an option before because we could never use all of the meat before it would go bad. Using this technique it is very easy to cut your meat costs by several dollars per pound.
There are many vacuum sealers on the market. I am sure that most of them would do the trick for creating these savings. I have a FoodSaver brand FM2000-FFP vacuum sealer. This is essentially the base model of the FoodSaver brand which I have always found to be plenty capable of meeting all of my needs. I have also purchased additional FoodSaver brand bags after I ran out of the bags that came with the vacuum sealer. There are also several generic brands of bags which claim to work with multiple brands of vacuum sealers. I have not personally used these generic brands, but I can say that I have always had good success with the FoodSaver brand. Both the FoodSaver vacuum sealers and bags are available at many stores and online locations. I have included links to the equipment that I currently use and recommend.