Cheaper China for Your Home

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

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The Goodwill store, estate sales, even discount department stores often have full sets of outdated china.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.

Promotional Opportunities

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.

Traditional Standbys

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.

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  • marci says:

    I used to think it was too special to use much – but now after 30 years, I figure, what the heck, I might as well get some enjoyment out of it 🙂 If it breaks, it breaks – I’m not going to take it with me in the coffin, so just use it.

    The gold does tend to come off in the dishwasher, but that’s ok also. Use and enjoy. It’s already bought and paid for, so you might as well use it 🙂

  • Diane says:

    I bought some beautiful Minton china at a 2nd hand store. It actually cost less than buying pieces at Zellers or Target. So? I put it in the dishwasher and enjoy it every day. I have 2 melamine plates in case something needs to go into the microwave. My grandmother (who was a wonderful woman) died with her silver wrapped in plastic wrap so it wouldn’t tarnish and her good wool sweaters wrapped in tissue (she wore the polyester ones). I wish she would have used what she had…

  • Joe says:

    I didn’t bother registering for fine China when I got married. My wife and I focused our efforts instead on getting an attractive set of everyday-usable dishes that we knew was within the price range of most of our wedding guests.

  • I don’t like Chinaware, it’s too annoying to use. You have to be so careful with it and we are all pretty clumsy. We got some nice neutral plates from IKEA a few months ago and they have already been dropped a few times. Cheap to replace.

  • Hunter says:

    My wife and I receivd a full china set as a wedding gift 11 years ago. The boxes have never been opened. We are just not traditional style people. Our house and decor is contemporary. Plus, we have children too…’nuff said.

  • Ginger says:

    I would not buy china (especially at this time in my life, my fiance is a grad student and I am trying to get in), but it is on our registry. Some people find that important so I pick one out I thought was nice. If someone bought a similar one from an outlet I would find that nice as well. But, really it is not necessary. We will be moving at least another three times in the next ten years and we want to have kids, china just is not practical.

  • Witty Artist says:

    I wouldn’t put my money in a china set. It’s true they look good and give the table a distinguished note, but they also require special attention as you’ve mentioned. So, bottom line, expenses and effort aren’t worth the rare usage of china.

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