This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Reconsider the second fridge

Posted by Matt

How many of you have a second refrigerator in your garage? If you do, have you given any thought to what that is costing you?

My wife started making a case for an additional refrigerator or freezer while we still lived in our last house, but after we moved she suggested that we get a new refrigerator and move the aging (but well-maintained and high quality) fridge left behind by the sellers into the garage.

Her thought is that we could save money on some of our groceries by buying more items in bulk (especially meats), if we only had more freezer space. Hard to argue with saving money, but I kind of liked the old fridge and didn't look forward to the expense of a new fridge on top of all the other things we've purchased for the new house already.

Well, the debate has finally been silenced and we have the electric company to thank. In their latest newsletter (yes, I actually read these top to bottom each month), I found an article that brought up an interesting new point on the topic and brought my wife and I into agreement.

Here's the gist of it: Second refrigerators are usually 1) older, less efficient models and 2) operating in uninsulated garages. The article indicates that the combination of these factors can really drive up the amount of energy used to run the refrigerator. Beyond the environmental negatives of this (which were what made the case for my wife), there is also the small matter of paying (according to the article) up to 200 dollars per year for that extra energy! Is it worth it? Can you save $200/year by buying that much more frozen food? We already save by stocking up on some frozen items from Costco; we just need to be more careful with our freezer capacity. And that's what we've decided to do. Thanks PGE!

One final note: having the fridge in an uninsulated garage probably won't contribute significantly to the cost factor in the winter months if you live somewhere that gets really cold, but if you do, why bother with a fridge anyway? Consider putting some of your frozen food outside! We've got a small cart that ended up on the (covered) back patio during the move and has become a convenient place to stash our extra drinks.

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