I have a minimalist kitchen. I own a toaster, microwave, food processor, crock pot, and a coffee maker. I don’t own a blender, a mixer, a bread machine, a George Foreman grill, or waffle iron.
Multi-Functionality Equals Multi-Frugality
I don’t like clutter and I don’t believe in collecting kitchen gadget that do specialty functions. Instead, I want a quality machine that can perform multiple functions when possible. My toaster does waffles and bagels, while my food processor serves as a blender, mixer, food slicer/shredder, and also mixes bread dough. When it came time to replace my beloved coffee maker last week, I did some research online before heading to the store. What I brought home was a $89 Cuisinart Programable On-Demand Coffee Maker.
Saving Money With Kitchen Gadgets
I liked the Cuisinart because there’s no carafe to wash or replace, it included a wire coffee filter basket (no need to buy paper filters or pods), and it keeps my coffee warm for four hours, so there’s less waste if I get caught up in work and forget to return to the coffee pot in a reasonable amount of time. The price was a little higher than I wanted to pay, but I did find it in a Kitchen Collections Store locally for the same price as on Amazon, so I saved on shipping and got to take it home the same day. It does pay to shop around, because I found the same coffee maker at four different stores, with as high a price as $200!
Look to the Future
When looking to replace a kitchen gadget, it’s important to keep the future in mind. In five years, I will likely be serving coffee to my teen son, my retired father-in-law, and myself on a daily basis. But for now, it’s just me consuming the Joe. I wanted to find a gadget that was flexible and had features such as programmable brewing and self-cleaning for a longer gadget life.
Avoid the Bling
I’m a fairly practical person, but I have to admit I occasionally get bit by the Bling Bug when shopping for gadgets. I love gadgets that do unexpected things, and ones that look appealing, and ones that light up… you get the idea. Being frugal in the kitchen appliances section means thinking through your purchase. While it’s very cool that the gadget has 9,000 functions and settings, is it practical if I’ll never use most of them? Remember, you pay for the bling, so if you never bake your own bread or make waffles from scratch, you don’t need gadgets designed for those functions. A lesser-priced (lower blingage) product might suit your needs better.
Consider the Upkeep
Like every other purchase you make, bringing home a new item will require a certain amount of upkeep. In the case of the coffee maker, I had to factor in items such as the caraffe, coffee filters, water filters, and replacing the machine when it eventually goes to the Big Appliance Heaven in the sky. In ten years, will it be frugal for me to spend $150-$200 (factoring in inflation and model upgrades) to replace my beloved Cuisinart?
What affects your decision to purchase or reject a kitchen gadget? Have you found a particular multi-function kitchen tool that was a good investment?
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