Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

A plan to save energy

I have  had a really large upright freezer.

Food and kitchen 2016 095

When I bought it in 2007 the idea was to stock up because of the fast increasing food and gas prices.  The freezer was to be for myself and my daughter as well as a place to keep charity food for my neighborhood.  In the past I had it full and organized.

Organized freezer 2015 016

When I stopped being the neighborhood food bank I stopped putting food into it.  We’ve been eating down the food because I knew eventually the freezer would be going to my daughter’s house.  She needs a big freezer much more than I these days with her growing family.   I’m moving anyway so the freezer might as well go to her house.

That leaves me with only the small under counter fridge I use.  But, its not under a counter.  I’ve been using it several years and its quite large enough for me.  Family and friends have tried to give me a full size fridge but I refuse because this really is enough for me.

Food and kitchen 2016 096

When my full size fridge quit working I didn’t have the money to replace it.  A customer gave me this one and I’ve been using it ever since.  I like it.  I noticed a big difference in my electric bill as soon as I started using it.  When I move I plan to keep it and get a small freezer about the same size to go with it.

Food and kitchen 2016 104

It looks empty in that spot but its also a sign that I’m ready to move on.  I was asked why I would want to make do with a small under counter fridge.  I like it because it saves energy.  Its smaller so it works less to keep food cold.  I’ve been using power strips on all my appliances to control the energy vampires so I thought why not go a step farther to save energy with a small fridge.

Food and kitchen 2016 105

I first became intrigued with using a small fridge when I started noticing them in TV shows from other countries several years ago. Most recently I saw them on the Doc Martin show.  I admire the simplicity of life of people in other places.  I’ve also noticed that drawer fridges and freezers are starting to be built into kitchens too.  What a great concept.

I’ve found that I tend to be more frugal with a smaller fridge.  Americans have a fascination with super sized things.  Even refrigerators and stoves.  Could having super sized refrigerators also be a contributing factor of obesity?  Possibly.

The lack of space in a small fridge means I’m less apt to buy super sized packages.  Super sized packages are best for large families but not for seniors who often eat less.  I usually end up giving most of super sized packages away.  That’s not frugal.

When I had a full size fridge it rarely was filled.  I drink powdered milk.  I can (bottle) meat and veggies.  Fruits are kept on a counter or canned too.  About the only thing that really stays in the fridge is eggs and butter and left overs.  I make ketsup, mayo, mustard, and salad dressing when needed in small quantities.  So you see a small fridge can work and save money too.

How about you?  Do you use a small fridge?  Have you thought about using one?


10 comments on “A plan to save energy

  1. Gabriele
    March 11, 2016

    I am german and I was surprised to see how wasteful people are when I moved to Alabama. Electricity is very expensive in Germany and we produce most of it with solar. Almost free. I tried to get solar power in Alabama which was impossible then. I started a garden and kept chickens. I preserved food that I produced, traded eggs for fresh milk and cooked from scratch. I lived the good live on very little money. Two years ago I moved back to Germany to take care of my parents and I so miss Alabama. I enjoy your blog and I hope you will find a nice place to live. Maybe you should teach classes on cooking and preserving food. Young people do not know anymore.

    • Anita
      March 11, 2016

      I tried teaching neighborhood people. They started depending on me to supply everything and do everything while they did nothing so I quit. People have to WANT to learn or there is no point of teaching.

  2. Margie in Toronto
    March 9, 2016

    I’m originally from Scotland and my grandmothers and others all had the smaller under the counter fridges. I think it’s really what you are used to – if that’s what you have then that’s what you learn to work with. You have managed and will continue to manage – and you’ll be saving money at the same time so good for you.

    • Anita
      March 11, 2016

      What excites me about using a small fridge is that there aren’t be any science experiments hiding in the dark corners of a vegetable crisper. Before anything goes in I must check to see what needs to come out.

  3. Jackie
    March 9, 2016

    I have always loved the concept of refrigerator and freezer drawers built in to the cabinetry. It makes perfect sense to me. I hate(!) trying to find something in a fridge! I feel like I am digging in a dark cave…..especially in side by side ones. As I get older, I find that I am downsizing in so many ways. After raising a large family, it actually is a relief to not have so much. When they all were at home, I couldn’t imagine feeling like I do. I thought I would be sad about all the changes, but I am not. I just feel relieved. Anita, I am wishing you all the best in your new journey and your new place. Especially peace. It’s going to be fun watching you in this new adventure. I always learn something from your experiences!

    • Anita
      March 11, 2016

      Thank you Jackie. I’m glad to see someone else feels relief at having less stuff too. I’m only tiny bit sad about the changes. I’ve lived here for over 30 years and I’ll miss it. A whole new adventure awaits me and its exciting.

  4. sarasinart
    March 9, 2016

    Sounds like that works just right for you. Good deal, less electric and meets your needs.

    • Anita
      March 11, 2016

      Hmm… I’m practicing for the someday when solar power becomes affordable common use. 😉

  5. Kathleen
    March 9, 2016

    Smart lady!!!…
    I have noticed that on the PBS sitcoms. They all have small fridges.
    We have a full size or regular fridge . it’s not side by side or ice and water in the door , just a fridge. I am sure my husband and I could get away with just a tiny fridge like yours but I don’t see it happening soon…..maybe later on down the road.
    Kathleen 😉

    • Anita
      March 11, 2016

      Sure Kathleen, small fridges are not for everyone. If you want to try an experiment to see if you could live with a tiny fridge try using only half your current fridge for a few days. If you don’t put anything in the unused half then a small one would work for you. That way you’ll know for the future.

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