China holds an iconic place in our perception of entertainment and value, as many couples still seriously consider requesting china when they get married. Before you opt to spend, or have people spend, hundreds of dollars for dishes, consider the following points.
Will You Use it?
This is a critical question. I, for example, have china I received for a wedding present 20 years ago. I make a point of using it as often as I can and that still works out to about 10 times a year. I can’t use it daily because I have children who drop things. For daily use I have some shatter-resistant glassware.
If you are not the formal entertainment kind of people, chances are you won’t use china often enough to make it worth while. This is a serious investment, so think it over carefully.
Can You Get it Elsewhere?
The Goodwill store, estate sales, even discount department stores often have full sets of outdated china. As long as you are not searching for a specific pattern you can find many lovely things this way.
When my mother-in-law was collecting plates from a botanical set of china, they cost $20 per plate at the high-end department store and $8.95 at the discount store. We kept a list of which plates she already had and just got new ones as we could afford them. That was a significant discount.
You can even find single plates online if you are seeking to make up a set or replace one dish that has broken, but you need to be patient.
Is it cheesy to get your dishes from the supermarket when it is running a promotion? No. I like dishes, I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I really hope that some day I can abandon the plastic and mismatched glass plates I have left after years of raising kids and move on to something prettier.
In anticipation of this, when my local market offered Lenox dishes for FREE when I bought groceries, I stocked up on 12 sets. They sit in my garage waiting for the day I can bring them out. Just about every supermarket runs a promotion on dishes from time to time; if you like the pattern, get them. Free is always a great price if you like the dishes.
Of course, there are the usual ways to save money that you can employ on china as well. If you are collecting a specific pattern, look for sales and store-based coupons. Shop at outlet locations and wait. Just about every china pattern ever made eventually falls out of favor. At that point, the manufacturer will be looking to dump stock at a lower price.
This is the time to snatch up the best bargain. It can even pay to purchase a few extras to replace those dishes that break over time.
China is a luxury item that is hard to justify when you live on a tight budget. If you own china, take good care of it. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, place fabric between individual dishes, and keep it in a cupboard away from dust. Good china will last for generations when treated right, so take care of them.
Need more tips on saving money? Check out the How to Save Money on Everything ebook, yours free when you sign up for the frugal newsletter.