A quick stop at the grocery store this week for vegetable oil and mushrooms that were on sale somehow ended up costing me over $20! I'm sure that happens to everyone from time to time, but overall I think this trip was a complete success.
I found packages of hamburger that were marked 1/2 price and a spiral sliced honey ham that was $7 off. I ended up getting almost 20 pounds of meat for only $14! The ham went in the freezer immediately as it was still frozen and doesn't need to be used for a few months. The hamburger had a sell by date of today, so it was time to get it taken care of!
The first 2.5 pounds were made into 10 quarter pound burgers. I flash froze those and then bagged them up to be grilled when we just need to have bacon cheese burgers! Another 2.5 pounds were made into sloppy joes. I rarely ate these growing up and often forget to make them for my family as a result. My husband loves them and will be thrilled to see we are having them tonight on his favorite homemade hamburger buns. Two more meals worth were frozen for future meals. The final 5 lbs was browned up and stored using my Food Saver. This resulted in 9 packages of meat to be used in future meals.
In my opinion a Food Saver would not necessarily be a frugal purchase if one bought it at full price. However, I often see these at garage sales or on craigslist for a steal. Ours was a gift at our wedding shower. We were also gifted a set of three canisters that can be sealed and I've bought lots of bags on sale using gift cards that we still have from our wedding. (One benefit of not retail shopping much is that those cards have lasted a long time!)
I use my Food Saver maybe once a month, but when I do I feel that it really does a great job. I often will do bulk hamburger, chicken legs or pork shoulder purchases. These are all meats that I cook and shred or chop and then vacuum seal to make meal prep easier. Sealing them also prevents freezer burn and lets us store our meat a little longer than I would if using zip type bags. For the last two years it has really done a wonderful job when I've put up corn. I have managed to freeze enough corn for an entire year in just one afternoon both summers. Our garden area is VERY small so I've had to rely on grocery store specials. The last two years I've gotten corn for $.10/ear and bought over 80 ears. I then use my microwave to blanch it, take it off the cob and seal it into bags. When we eat it in the middle of winter it tastes just like it did in the summer! The savings are substantial and the work is pretty simple.
I think that if you have a way to get a cheap or free Food Saver it can be a real money saver. It always surprises me how many I see for sale that have never been used. The good thing is that when mine dies in someday I should be able to replace it for a great price! As you are out and about this summer consider getting a Food Saver. When the produce and meat is cheap and the gardens are full it may be a great way to prepare yourself for the winter!