Keeping your finances afloat on a tight family budget requires lots of careful planning. It’s all about knowing when it’s worthwhile to spend more and when it’s better to cut some corners. For example, the cleats your daughter will wear for 20 softball games can be bought used, but her daily footwear for school is worth buying new.
One area where you can really break your budget is the kitchen. With the endless stream of unique (and cool!) appliances and utensils always coming onto the market, it can be very tempting to go high-end on everything, burning up all your grocery money in the process.
So as tempting as it is to go crazy at the store or a friend’s kitchen ware party, you should be practical and keep the price tags manageable.
Below are some ideas on how to begin buying smart in your kitchen.
Buying Smart: Spend More on Items You Use the Most
When was the last time you went a whole day without using a fork? How many meals can you prepare without using a skillet or some type of saucepan? The more you use an item, the better it is to spend more money and get a model that can stand up to the heavy use.
To get an idea of how important this is, look at things the next time you’re in a restaurant. Start with the plate you’re eating from. Notice that it’s much heavier than most of what you have at home and the shape is typically optimized with the fewest possible sharp points and thin areas. Go online and notice the attributes of products at Mission Restaurant Supply compared to typical consumer goods. You’ll probably realize quickly that the commercial models would be a good choice for home, too!
Buying Smart: Considering Safety
Protecting ourselves, our kids, and our guests should always be a high priority, and the kitchen is one of those places where there are always hazards present. You might save a few dollars purchasing loose knives and storing them in the drawer, but for families with kids in the kitchen, one bad cut will make you wish you had invested in knives that come with a storage block.
The same goes for stove top use. Good cookware should have handles t
hat will safely deflect heat from your hands, and it should attach securely without wobbly screws that could make it difficult to carry. The vessel itself should be durable enough that years of heated use won’t warp or crack it.
If you use a pressure cooker or canner, you have even more safety issues to consider. These high-temperature, high pressure devices can be very dangerous if they malfunction, so even if you just can a little garden produce each summer, you should invest in quality equipment.
Buying Smart: Upkeep Costs
Buying closeout appliances might seem like a great way to save money, but sometimes it can bite you later. Closeouts, clearances, floor model sales, and all of those things are signs of a product being discontinued, and if they stop making the model, they’ll eventually stop making the parts too.
As complex as today’s appliances are, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Don’t buy one just because it’s cheap now, because five years down the road you may find yourself needing a $75 part that can’t be had, forcing you to replace the appliance.
Buy brands and models that are fresh on the market, and you’ll have a better chance of getting a full life out of them.
Stocking your kitchen with exciting new products is fun and satisfying. It’s an investment in healthy, affordable eating for your family. You can go with the off-brand dish detergent and the cheap napkins, but if you go low-dollar on the long-term items for your kitchen, you’ll probably regret it down the road. It’s true that you can pay now or pay later, and you’ll prefer paying now.