Making lists about great cooking tools is all well and good, but how can you kit out your kitchen if you are on a budget. Let’s face it, we are all on a budget.
There actually are some great ways to get all the tools you need, and want, while still staying within your budget.
“Hand-me-down” refers the to practice of giving used items to your family or friends. This is a great place to kick start stocking your kitchen.
When you think about it, your family and friends are constantly upgrading their current tools to the latest and greatest versions. In many cases, their current version works just fine, they are just looking to make a change.
This is a great opportunity because the tool they are replacing would have ended up being donated to charity or in the garbage.
Make sure that you let your family and friends know to keep you in mind if they are upgrading any of their kitchen tools.
Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, Antique Shops
Thrift stores are fantastic for finding a lot of perfectly good kitchen tools. That is how I was able to stock up on my Mason jar collection and find some fantastic stainless steel nesting bowls for much cheaper than in stores or online.
Garage sales are another great resource for things like jars, bowls, casserole dishes and the like. This is another place where people want to get rid of the perfectly good tools that they no longer need.
Antique shops are particularly good for finding cast iron pots and the like. For example, I love cast iron, but the best cast iron I have found were at antique shops. That is because a lot of the newer cast iron is not as good as the old ones made 50 + years ago.
Many people think that antique shops are just for buying old pieces of furniture at high prices. This is not the case, as often small town antique shops will focus on quality over collectability.
When shopping at thrift stores or the others mentioned, keep quality and condition in mind. Do not bother buying items that are in bad condition, because you will just end up wasting you money.
Department stores and discount shops like the “Dollar Store” are good options for certain items:
- Brand name storage containers (Rubbermaid, Gladware, Betty Crocker, Ziplock, etc.) can be found much cheaper here
- Brand name tools (Rubbermaid, Betty Crocker, etc.)
Things that can end up not being a bargain:
- Store brand/no-name food wraps (aluminium foil, plastic wrap, wax paper). They are usually lower quality … which makes you use more… which negates the low price.
- Store brand/no-name oven mitts and heat protection. These can be made from cheaper materials, which can end up being dangerous
- Cheap plastic utensils that may not be food safe. Squeeze bottles are a great example. If you want to use them for food, they need to be made of food safe materials (which will be stated on the labelling). Cheap plastic utensils will usually end up breaking much quicker than higher quality tools
Online shopping can be a fantastic way to get bargains. If you leverage the power of the Internet, you can get quality tools for much less money:
- It is a great way to compare prices and make sure that you are getting the best deal.
- Watch for price matching. Many stores, whether online or not, will match advertised prices (online prices too). Some of them will even give an extra 10% off!
- Keep an eye out for rebates. Many companies like Cuisinart and KitchenAid provide rebates when you purchase their products. Sometimes it is an instant rebate, sometimes it is a mail-in rebate. Either way, it is worth it.
- Watch for stores that provide a price guarantee. This usually means that if a product’s price is reduced within 90 days of your purchase, you can ask for the difference in price back.
Here is a great example of how I used these techniques:
After researching food processors, I decided that I wanted a specific Cuisinart model:
- The Sears store in my town were selling them for $269.00
- I found them online at Future Shop for $199.00
- I also found a mail-in Rebate from Cuisinart (at their website) for $75 with the purchase of a food processor
- I printed off the online listing from Future Shop and took it to Sears. They honoured the price and gave an additional 10% off. I bought it for $179.00
- I then printed off the rebate form and mailed it and my receipt to Cuisinart. A $75.00 cheque arrived in about 4 weeks.
- So, my $269.00 food processor ended up costing $104.00
Holidays are a perfect opportunity to get specific tools for your kitchen.
- Mother’s/Father’s Day
Believe it or not, most people really appreciate it if you actually tell them what you want as a gift. It takes the pressure off of them and it ensures that you will be happy with your gift.
One year I said that I wanted hand tools (new spatulas and mixing spoons) for stocking stuffers. My family was able to get me a good array of different shapes and sizes.
Another year I said that I was saving up for a proper stand mixer. I knew where I wanted to buy it and my family ended up buying me gift cards to that store. With gift cards in hand, I was able to get the exact make and model I wanted.
Last year I expressed my desire for a dedicated crepe pan, and it was under the Christmas tree. I use that pan every Sunday and my family loves that they got me something that I use and enjoy.
Kitting out your kitchen, while staying within your budget is easy if you use your imagination and do some leg work.
Do you have ideas about getting the tools you want or need on a budget? We would love to hear about it.