Spend or Save: Kitchen Items

It’s not always easy to know when you should try to cut corners and when it’s really worth spending the money on something. Here are my thoughts regarding some kitchen basics.

Silverware, dishes and glassware: Save 

Thrift stores are the perfect place to get plates, bowls, silverware, cups, mugs and glassware. I got all of this at my favorite thrift shop for less than $15. Bonus: my dishes came from a very nice set that originally cost quite a pretty penny!

Most cooking utensils: Save

Unless you’re really into cooking, measuring cups, ladles, spatulas, serving spoons, etc. don’t have to be anything special. A tablespoon is always going to measure exactly one tablespoon, whether you spend one dollar or ten.

Frying pan: Spend

This is one thing where you pay for your quality. While you can get by with a cheap frying pan, you’ll be able to tell the difference. The cheap ones don’t cook evenly, and they’re harder to keep clean. (Similar rules apply to a pot or saucepan, but since those are usually used to cook things in boiling water, there’s a lot less food sticking directly to the metal, so if you need to save on your saucepan, it’s not the end of the world).

Knives: Spend

Better to buy one costly cutting knife than to have a variety of inexpensive ones. Cheap knives don’t cut as well and they dull quickly. You’re a lot more likely to cut yourself struggling to use a dull knife than a sharp knife (trust me, I’m speaking from experience! I have the scars to prove it). This same logic applies to almost anything else with a blade (like a vegetable peeler, for instance).

Can opener: Spend

While you can get most kitchen extras at the dollar store (see above), without a problem, you’ll want to spend a little more on your can opener. There is nothing worse than having your can opener break mid-can. Have you ever tried getting a can open without a can opener? It’s not fun, and it can be quite dangerous (once again, I’m speaking from experience). Don’t break bank here, but don’t scrimp, either.

Toaster: Save

Stick to the basics here–you don’t need a fancy six slot toaster with a dozen different settings, you just need something that toasts. My $7 toaster from Walmart works fine. Just remember to unplug your toaster when you’re not using it (toasters are a fire hazard).

Blender: Save

I spent $20 on an Oyster brand blender bottle (the kind that’s also a water bottle so you can blend smoothies and drink them from the same container), and I LOVE IT. It blends really well, takes up minimal space, and was super cheap. Unless you plan on hosting huge parties and serving dozens of margaritas every night, an inexpensive blender will be more than enough for you.

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Taylor LaSon is a recent Hamilton College graduate who is currently living in Memphis while seeking her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She and her cat prefer a quiet, introverted lifestyle full of Netflix binges and arts and crafts, but when she does go out, she enjoys rock climbing and making silly faces at small children.

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