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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!
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?