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3 Ways an Organized Refrigerator Can Save You Money

organized refrigerator

Guest post from Megan of Frugal Finds During Naptime

I was looking for a place to shove the leftovers from dinner in my refrigerator when I spotted it. There was this green-looking gunk coming out from underneath one of the bottom drawers in my refrigerator.

Yuck!” I said out loud, as I was completely grossed out by it.

Upon further investigation, I discovered it was a cucumber… rather, what was left of a cucumber. The remnants (that were not oozing out of the bottom produce drawer) were still in the produce bag from the grocery store.

As I began to clean up the mess, I found other leftovers I had forgotten about. Of course, these leftovers were no longer edible, and I was a little saddened by it. Not because I just love leftovers either, but because it made me realize how much “money” I was throwing away in my garbage can all because I didn’t have an organized refrigerator.

If you can relate, here are three ways having an organized refrigerator can save you money in the long run:

1. You Will Use Up Leftovers

If your refrigerator is organized, you can clearly see your leftovers, and can then make plans to use them in other meals.

For example, as I was throwing away a small container of leftover taco meat, I realized that it would have been just the right amount for my girls to have tacos for lunch.

2. You Won’t Overspend

When you can clearly see what is in your refrigerator, you won’t purchase the same items you already have.

As sad as it is, I found another (fresh) cucumber in my refrigerator as I was throwing away the remnants of the other cucumber. If my refrigerator had been clean, I would have known I had one and wouldn’t have purchased another cucumber the week before. I could have made plans to use the cucumber I already had before it was bad.

3. You’ll Use Less Energy

With a full refrigerator, you can’t find things quickly; therefore, you will (more than likely) be standing there with the door open longer. This, in turn, causes your refrigerator to work harder and your electric bill takes the hit.

All of these may seem like little things; however, they quickly add up over the course of a year, or even a month.

When you’re trying to lower your grocery bill, save money for a vacation, or get out of debt, taking an afternoon to organize your refrigerator, meal plan with the leftovers, and commit to keeping it organized can help you reach your goals!

Megan is a frugal, couponing, stay-at-home mom to two girls {ages 5 and 2}. She enjoys finding deals, and breaking it down to small, easy-to-do scenarios to help others learn to save money. You can find her at Frugal Finds During Naptime where she posts deals, money-saving tips, her trips to the grocery store, and writes about lessons she has learned as a mom.

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  • Karen says:

    Everything helps when you’re making the most of what you have. I’m always telling my husband to return every item to the same spot so I won’t be standing there looking for it with the door open. One other suggestion I have is when you prepare a meal, think of everything you need from the refrigerator, lay it out on the counter, and return everything when you’re finished so you’re not opening the door several times.

  • Debbie says:

    I absolutely loved this post! Sometimes I feel as though I am doing everything I can to save money, and then a post like this one comes along to show me I can still do more! Bye for now, Money Saving Mom, I’m off to clean out the fridge!

  • Ramona says:

    Good advice! I know I throw a lot of food out because the food is spoiled.

  • Ramona says:

    Good advice! I know I throw a lot of food out because the food spoiled.

  • WilliamB says:

    I’m not sure about #3: a fuller (but not jammed) fridge is more efficient than a mostly-empty one. So each person will have to balance door-open vs. efficient cold.

    The other points are uncontroversial.

    I find what works best for me is to go through the fridge about once a week. Ideally I have Smorgasborg Friday (a fancy name for leftovers/a bit of this n that for dinner). Followed by looking through the fridge on Saturday to see what I have, have to use up, and have to throw out (boo); I do spot cleaning as well, so rarely need to do a big scary fridge clean. Then I decide what to cook the next week – knowing what I do and don’t have on hand, and with room in the fridge for whatever I buy.

    These don’t need to be done right after each other, either.

    • Jennifer B. says:

      I thought the exact same thing when I read the article. I believe the author may actually have been meaning a “disorganized” rather than “full” refrigerator as the rest of her post is related to that — and not to minimizing the contents.

  • Flo says:

    I make some pretty expensive compost sometimes! (At least it isn’t going to the landfill.) We have an 18.2 cu ft, which is hard when you use a lot of produce. I also put too many things in the freezer and don’t use them fast enough. My confession for today: my daughter put a dishtowel in to protect the plastic when she put the soup in the fridge. When I used the last of the soup and went to take the towel out…eeewww!! A bag of unidentifiable produce behind it had turned to goo and soaked the towel. Gack! I will be implementing these suggestions more diligently now.
    In my defense, we do not have a schedule at all, so it can be very frustrating trying to put together meals for four people that are working three different schedules. BUT! My husband has retired now, so there will be at least two people on a similar schedule so I CAN plan meals for us! And, thankfully, he likes leftovers. (And maybe someone else will use leftovers for lunch at work…) Thanks!

  • Jessica says:

    I would add to check your temperature controls regularly. I have three little mischief makers who like to spin the dials and change the temperature of the fridge and freezer. So one day last week I got up to make my coffee, got out the almond milk and saw that my romaine was frozen! Someone had turned the fridge to a way too low temperature!

    • Amanda says:

      You can buy little thermometers, too, if you want a better idea what temperature your fridge is actually running at. They’re cheap, and surprisingly useful. Same for oven thermometers.

      We also use a black crayon or grease pencil to mark dates on reusable containers (wipe it off later), and black sharpie on disposable containers.

  • Rosanna says:

    I have made it a habit for years to clean the inside of the fridge weekly. It only takes 10 minutes or so and I can re-organize and see what’s all in it each time. I still sometimes have to throw something out, but very rarely since making the switch.

  • Kariane says:

    These are great suggestions! Food waste is such a big issue, not only financially, but also in terms of resources. For other ways to reduce food waste (34 of them), you can see an article I wrote about it here:

  • Kelly Cox says:

    These are great points and just having my fridge clean and organized makes me feel more relaxed and less frantic. I love clean and tidy! It makes me feel accomplished and I believe that less food will go to waste!

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