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.

Life with a tiny fridge

My grandparents, where I spent a great deal of my childhood, didn’t have electricity.  That meant no refrigerator.  They had a spring house for keeping foods.  A spring house is a building built over a small running stream that creates a natural refrigerator to keep foods cool.  Some foods are kept in the running water and some were kept nearby.  If my grandparents could live without a hugh freezer or an over sized refrigerator then there is no reason I can’t live with a tiny fridge.

Food and kitchen 2016 119

Actually there are lots of people living with tiny fridges already. Dorm rooms, RVs, boats, tiny houses, studio apartments, motel and hotel rooms all have people living with tiny fridges.

I’m adjusting to life with only the tiny fridge and I like it more each day.  There are some inconveniences like not being able to take advantage of large economy size frozen foods on sale.  I usually couldn’t eat it all by myself anyway and would give lots away or have to throw it away.  This will save me money.

I think the thing I miss most is having ice once in awhile.  I don’t drink juice or soda but I do like lemonade and ice tea in the summer.  The ice trays I had in the big freezer are too large for my tiny fridge.  I plan to buy some of those do it yourself pop-cycle things to make single serve ice.  No, you don’t have to save them just for making juice pops. They are small enough you can squeeze them among other items in a tiny freezer.  For now I’m using a couple of small plastic food containers.  These work just right for an occasional need for ice.

Food and kitchen 2016 116

Living with a tiny fridge is very do-able with careful planning.  It forces me to live with less which means less waste.  There is no space for lost leftovers hiding in the corners behind other items or moldy fruits hidden in the dark recesses of a crisper drawer.  This means nothing will be in the fridge long enough to become a science experiment.

I cook for a few days worth of meals in much the same way I did when I had the big freezer but I’m eating it before it has a chance to go bad or get freezer burn.  I constantly think of the way Grandma Mama did her cooking and food storage.  She was the smartest (and frugal-est) person I ever knew.  Having been born in the 1800s she went through the great depression and both WW1 and WW2 rationing.  Now that I’m pretending its the 1940s all over again that’s the way I’m cooking and storing foods. (but with some modern inventions)

I had planned to add a small chest freezer when I move to the new house but I may change my plans.  Now that I’ve grown somewhat used to the tiny fridge, my personal thought is that extremely large fridges are just over sized expensive parking lots for food on the way to the compost bin.

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15 comments on “Life with a tiny fridge

  1. I have not downsized my fridge but I have my freezer for much the same reasons as you, food going to waste at the bottom of drawers and stockpiling stuff I really will not eat. Noticed a difference on my electric bill almost straight away.

  2. Donna
    March 21, 2016

    When I was first married back in the 70’s, we lived in an apartment with a combination fridge, stove, and sink. Everything all in one unit. It was pretty convenient because everything was very close to get to.

    • Anita
      March 21, 2016

      Ooo, I bet that was nice. I can see myself living with something like that if I had it.

  3. Kathleen
    March 21, 2016

    Anita,
    I think it is a very cool idea. I might do that some day when ours konks out. Most of our fridge is storage for things like large jugs of Olive oil, ketchup, syrup, door full of sauces that don’t get used that much. I have cool baskets from the dollar store , one for fruit,one for salad stuff and one for yogurt. I just use them as drawers and things don’t get lost in the back anymore……but I could definitely get used to a mini fridge. Milk , I have divided into about 6 containers and freeze. just have a small 1 cup pitcher for milk,that’s how much we use in a week.
    Now,my freezer has to stay!!!..lol 😉
    Take care,
    Kathleen

    • Anita
      March 21, 2016

      I thought I would miss the freezer alot but I don’t. Your fridge sounds very organized for you. Does it help you use everything?

      • Kathleen
        March 22, 2016

        Yes, nothing gets lost in the back anymore,and the main reason I started using the baskets was things next to the back wall would freeze, I would turn the temp down and things wouldn’t seem cold enough….and it’s set on “1”! ❄
        Have a Great day!🌷

  4. pattinround
    March 21, 2016

    Lol. Love the last line. Wonder if my giant fridge has anything to do with my giant belly.

    • Anita
      March 21, 2016

      Lol, maybe thats what’s wrong with my waistline.

  5. Sandy
    March 21, 2016

    We live on a boat with just a small fridge like yours and I agree with everything you said. It’s just a matter of adjustment.

    • Anita
      March 21, 2016

      Sandy I’m curious, how do you do laundry on your boat? Or do you go off the boat for that? I’ve been thinking of getting a compact portable washer when I move.

      • Sandy
        March 21, 2016

        We have a compact twin tub that washes and spins dry and then I hang them to finish dry It washes for 15 minutes bad spins for 5. It does about 4 pounds per load and does a good job.
        I usually fill the wash tub with my dishwashing rinse water to save water. It resides in our shower so that draining is not an issue.

        • Anita
          March 22, 2016

          I had a compact apartment size washer and dryer when I moved into this house over 30 years ago. I can’t remember why I went to a full size. I’ve been considering options for when I move to my new house. I would really like to have a vintage wringer washer but I’m not sure I could find one in good working condition that wouldn’t cost a fortune.

          • Sandy
            March 22, 2016

            My grandmother had a wringer washer when I was a child and I like them too.
            I forgot to mention that the washer we now have is designed for RVs. We got ours in England online and it cost the equivalent of about $150.

            • Anita
              March 22, 2016

              I’ve looked at some of those online. I’ve been wondering if they save more on water and electricity versus an energy star apartment sized one? Did you buy yours for the size or efficiency or both?

              • Sandra ONeill
                March 22, 2016

                We bought it for both since space, water and electricity can be in short supply on a boat. To make it more efficient I use one fill of water to wash all my loads, light to dark, by wringing clothes by hand before putting them in the spinner. I sAve water this way. ________________________________

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