Unexpected Kitchen Costs & How to Save on Them

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When you first start cooking a lot or move into your first place with your very own kitchen, it doesn’t seem like it would be all that expensive, right? Just a few pans, a few dishes, and maybe some cleaning supplies…. Unfortunately, much like your annual tax bill, the unexpected costs that come with starting and maintaining a functioning kitchen can be surprising! 

Save money on kitchen costs

Pots & Pans: When to Splurge and When to Invest

You can get away with rather basic pots or pans for certain functions. For example, if you tend to boil a lot of pasta, there’s no real reason to invest more than $10 or $20 in your water or stock pot. However, most chefs (and normal people) agree that your frying pan or saute pan is worth a little more money because you’re going to use it so much.

How to save: Shop cheap stores for your water pot, such as Walmart, thrift shops, or family hand-me-downs. For “more expensive” pots and pans that will see a lot of use, try shopping discount stores like Marshalls, or scouting sales at normal retailers so that your investment will last longer than a month or two.

Cooking and Eating Utensils Cost A Lot

Another surprise in the kitchen is the cost of sets of eating utensils that last and cooking utensils like spatulas, whisks, and mixing bowls. All of these items at retail could set you back in a range of prices, from $10 for a nice spatula, and almost always over $40 for a set of silverware. If those kinds of prices just don’t seem worth it, you’ll want to save instead of splurge. Besides, wouldn’t you rather spend your money on food?

How to save: Most thrift shops and antique shops have baskets or bins of old, mismatched silverware. WIth enough patience, you can get a great deal on a set that almost sort of looks the same. Even better if you don’t care if they match! For kitchen utensils, though, especially wood or bamboo, second hand is not a good idea. Sale stores and discount stores give better prices on brand names, or shop off-brand at stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Saving Money on Kitchen Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning up the kitchen can be a real pain, but even more painful is the cost of cleaning it. If you don’t go for natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda, you could be dropping almost $5 a pop for cleaning supplies like Windex, counter cleaner, floor cleaner, dishwashing soap, dishwashing liquid, and more. And let’s not forget the cost of trash bags, or even a trash can if you’re just getting started.

How to save: The first and most simple way to reduce costs is to try natural cleaner alternatives. A $5 back of baking soda and a $1 jug of vinegar can do most of your cleaning and will last a long, long time. You can also shop with coupons or for discounts and deals for the things you really need, like dishwashing soap and dishwashing liquid. Another option? Since these are all recurring costs, sign up for a program like Amazon Subscription to save a small percentage when you automate your purchase.

Have any cost-saving tips for the kitchen?

10 thoughts on “Unexpected Kitchen Costs & How to Save on Them

  1. We have gone through several sets of pots and pans during our marriage. The first was a cheap aluminum set with some sort of non-stick coating that my wife managed to burn out of some of the pans. Or current Calphalon set are stainless steel with aluminum embedded in the base. They weren’t exactly cheap, but they have lasted for many years. My wife likes kitchen gadgets, and she brought many with her into our marriage. She got a bunch more at some sort of Pampered Chef get-together quite a few years ago. And then I buy her one or two new gadgets each year just because I know she likes them.

  2. I never wanted to invest in kitchenware while flatting with others because you just never know what might get lost, stolen, damaged. This year we bought an expensive knife and frypan and it makes cooking SO much easier.

  3. I’m currently in the market to replace some of my pots, pans and utensils. I’ve already been looking around at stores like BBB and Target. They are expensive, so far the best deals I’ve found has been at Home Goods and Marshalls. I’ll probably end up buying my items there.

  4. I save some money by using a lot of dish towels and cloth napkins instead of spending $$ on paper towels and napkins. It’s a win-win because I hate creating more garbage too.

    As for my pots and pans … well … we got some All Clad pots and pans when we got married and absolutely love them. NOT exactly a money-saving option 😉

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