I really love my vacuum sealer. I can't say enough about owning one and finding new uses for its sealing power. Mostly I use my vacuum sealer for storing food items. I love to be able to seal and freeze our fresh veggies from the garden. There is nothing more gratifying than eating our home grown veggies in the winter months when the garden has long been put to bed. I have become more creative over the years. At first I would only freeze single vegetables in a pouch. Now I store mixes of vegetables for stews, soups, stir fries or just mixes for side dishes. I started out with only a food sealer. It was a single wire unit that sealed the bag closed. I manually squished as much air out of the packages as I could. I didn't know what I was missing until we visited with some relatives and they had a vacuum sealer they were using with fish. I was very impressed with the sealing power and the freshness that came with vacuuming out all the air.
I now own a Deni Supreme Vacuum sealer that allows for sealing only or vacuum and sealing. It comes with several neat features like being able to create your own size bags from rolls and it has the option for canister sealing. Being able to make a custom size bag comes in handy. I hate having to waste a quart size bag when I only want to freeze green pepper slices in small bags. I make custom size bags when sealing our dried herbs for storage. Custom size bags also work great for sealing important paperwork, like our legal documents and children's artwork for long term storage. I have quite a stack stored away for our kids to share when they have their own children someday. I sealed their projects by year along with that year's school photo.
I try to save money by buying in bulk. I often bring home large packages of meats and break them down into smaller sizes. The same for dry goods like flour and oatmeal. They both freeze well to keep for longer periods of time when sealed with the vacuum sealer. I seal my brown sugar to keep it from getting lumpy. I keep it in its original bag but then place it inside a food sealer bag.
I like to make meals ahead of time so that I have an inventory of dinners in the freezer. On really busy weeks I can just grab the meals out and microwave them or throw them in a slow cooker and have healthy meals without all the work. I make batches of stuffed peppers then store them uncooked for slow cooker meals. Whenever I make stews, chili, meatloaf or lasagna I make extra so that I can store meals away for another time. It keeps my family from getting sick of leftovers. Making meals ahead of time also works well for going camping. You can spend time enjoying the outdoors and activities and not have to spend the whole time cooking.
Another nice money saving feature I like about the vacuum food sealers is that the bags are reusable. If the bags are used for greasy items they often need to be thrown away but bags that are used for fruits and vegetables can be washed and used again. Most bags can go from freezer to microwave. I make sure to open the bag before cooking so it does not explode in the microwave or damage the bag. I like to place the bag in a sturdy container so that the contents don't spill in the microwave. I often wash the bags by hand but they can be turned inside out and put in a dishwasher as well.
I also use my sealer for things that I don't use so often, like my garden seed packages when done with them in the spring. They are usually good for more than one year and it keeps them from being dumped out by accident. I reseal the potting soil bag also.