We already know that cooking food at home – preferably from scratch without a bunch of pre-prepared ingredients and convenience foods will save us money. It doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of temptations and pitfalls to skirt if you want to maximize your savings, and not all of them have to do with the foods themselves.
If you’re serious about living economically, you have to be awake in all suits, and we’re here to alert you about the dos and don’ts a few think of.
Find out how to make the most of your kitchen dollars with these simple tips.
Since you’ll be spending quite a lot of time in your kitchen, the remodeling job may become more urgent. Choose good quality countertops. A few extra dollars will worth for something that will last and last.
The same goes for flooring. You don’t want something that can’t handle the occasional hot spill or even a heavy scrubbing. And if a spill goes undetected, you don’t want warping and staining. An excellent flooring material will be easy to clean, water resistant, somewhat heat resistant, and stain resistant.
Because your kitchen increases your home’s value, you can splurge on high-quality kitchen cabinets, but first, check to see if replacing a few panels on your old cabinets or refinishing may not give you the revamped look you’re hoping for.
Good, energy saving devices will last for many years and will keep saving you money thanks to their low electricity use. Look for the ‘energy star’ label. It’s a government sponsored mark for energy saving appliances, and if your new kitchen equipment doesn’t have it, it probably isn’t an energy saving item.
Before splurging on an appliance, ask yourself if you really need it and will use it. All too often we’re seduced into buying something that just ends up gathering dust. For instance, you don’t need a wine cooler if your fridge will do the job just as well!
If you have a big family, a dishwasher can be a blessing, but if you want to save a considerable amount of money, doing dishes by hand is a perfectly feasible alternative. Ask everyone to wash their own plates, glasses and cups after use, and set up a dishwashing program for hubby and kids.
Check out these small appliances you can find cheap alternatives for:
- Bake bread in the oven. Bread machines are limiting and difficult to clean.
- Use a whisk or old fashioned egg beater instead of a stand mixer. If you really think a bit of electrical power will help you, get a hand held mixer.
- Why get an immersion blender if you can use an ordinary blender – or even a wooden spoon or potato masher to do the same job?
- Deep fryers shouldn’t be on anyone’s shopping list. For the occasional deep fried dish, oil poured into a pot or pan works just as well.
- Ice cream makers may sound heavenly, but few people use them often enough to justify the price. Make ice cream the old fashioned way – it even tastes better.
- Electric juicers can help you to whip up those healthy smoothies, but a hand held juicer is way cheaper and does the same job.
- Vacuum sealers are pure marketing.
- Steamers produce delicious food, but you can do the same thing on your stove top.
- Electric frying pans take up a lot of space, and if you already have a stove and a good sized pan, they may not be necessary – on the other hand, if you want to fry in bulk, they are a pleasure.
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Crockery and Cutlery
It’s easy to be tempted by beautiful pottery, but as soon as one item breaks, the set isn’t complete anymore. Choose crockery that’s quite dull in a design that always available. That way you can replace broken items without buying a full set.
Knives are one area where it pays to get something excellent. A well-made knife set can last you a lifetime, and having sharp kitchen knives is a must for the master chef. The same goes for the knives and forks you’ll eat with, but remember that teaspoons have a habit of going missing, so choose a classic and simple design that will make mixing and matching possible.
Fish knives and forks are an item that most people don’t ever get round to using, so ask yourself if you really need them before buying a set.
Pots, Pans and Baking Containers
This is another area where it’s all too easy to go overboard and end up with a whole lot of things you’ll hardly ever use. Choose a selection of heavy-bottomed stainless steel pots, pans, and saucepans, and avoid the ones with glass lids for obvious reasons.
Non-stick pans are tempting, but remember that the coating does wear down even if you’re careful. You can have the surface redone, but a clever cook can get away with standard pans and still not have food sticking to surfaces.
Pyrex oven dishes have multiple uses and don’t rust as quickly as most baking trays, so having a good selection is very worthwhile.
Always Think Before You Buy
With cookery shows on TV bombarding us with an array of ‘must-have’ appliances and homeware stores offering us a gleaming range of fun extras, temptation is everywhere. But as with anything else, the frugal will only choose items they know they’ll use often. Beware the lure of gimmicks!
The more often you use something, the greater the investment in high-quality products. That’s when you should spoil yourself – just a little!
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