How to invest your money with a guaranteed payoff

My head is spinning, watching the value of my investments bounce up and down like a bungee jumper. Overall, however, it appears that, for the short term, stocks, bonds and various savings instruments are going to yield squat, or very little above squat. Perhaps this is the right time to invest in something with intrinsic value, and I'm not talking about gold. I'm talking about food.

Types and cuts of meat can vary in price dramatically over the course of a few months. What if you could lock in chicken at its yearly market low? Jump on flank steak sales? Buy fresh fruit at the give-away price of high season, and enjoy it on a cold winter evening? Then consider buying a deep freezer.

The numbers work this way. A good freezer, such as the Consumer Reports Best Buy Frigidaire FFC0723D, will set you back $160-250 and cost around $30 a year to run. It will last for years, too.

It's not unreasonable to expect that you could cut $10 a week from your food expenses by buying large quantities of meat and other freezables when on sale. Even including the time cost of money, the freezer would pay itself off in less than six months, and leave you a net of $200 or so at the end of the year. That's a handsome return on investment.

But... As PeeWee Herman was wont to say, "Everywhere you look, there's always a big but." The but here is power. A four-day outage such as I experienced after Hurricane Ike can wipe out your meat portfolio. So consider investing in a backup generator. For $300-600, gas, natural gas or propane generators are available with enough output to save your meat, keep your home warm or cool, and preserve your sanity, if you have children or a TV-addicted spouse winter. The benefits far transcend just supporting your freezer, so only a portion of this expense should be attributed to your frozen food initiative.

Unlike gold, traches, or blue-chip stocks, food is an investment that will always pay off. In today's market, doesn't that sound refreshing?


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