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The Best Kitchen Appliances People on a Budget Should Have

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The Best Kitchen Appliances People on a Budget Should Have

What´s missing when you look at your kitchen? Chances are, it´s not a miniature donut maker or an automatic butter slicer, which are in fact real gadgets on the market today. Because of the proliferation of kitschy kitchen appliances, it´s more important than ever for homeowners on a budget to choose the ones that they need — and will use — the most. Below are the three main criteria for choosing appliances wisely, as well as three smart ways to save money no matter how you want to outfit your kitchen.

What Will You Get in Return?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before purchasing a new appliance: what is the return value? This means that what you buy should not only warrant how much you spend on it, but it should exceed its original value by making your time spent in the kitchen easier.

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The ceramic skillet is one accoutrement that is up to the task. Ceramic skillets are not only easy to clean, saving you time after you finish cooking, but they also help keep food warmer for longer by retaining heat. Most importantly, though, ceramic skillets have none of the toxins that scientists have found in some varieties of non-stick cookware. Want more bang for your buck? Consider investing in a pricier skillet that could last a lifetime (depending on your warranty), rather than a cheaper model that will only last a year or two. Easier clean-up, extended warmth and non-toxic make-up give the ceramic skillet a high return value.

How Often Will You Use It?

In a similar vein as return value, frequency of use can help you decide whether or not an appliance for your kitchen is worth it. To calculate this number, divide the cost of an appliance by how often you intend to use it. For kitschy or seasonal items, the cost per use might not warrant the initial price. For things you´ll use every day, it´s worth the investment.

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One such item is a microwave. Heating and re-heating food is something that we do every day, so investing in a nice microwave would most likely be worth the cost. Furthermore, the microwave makes time spent in the kitchen more efficient, thus raising its return value as well.

Do You Really Need It?

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When it comes down to it, there are some things that you just don’t need an appliance for: a strong arm can replace an electric mixer, a French press can replace a coffee maker, and a little bit of elbow grease can replace an electric can opener. Sometimes, though, you simply need an appliance´s help.

The blender is a perfect example of this. It´s most likely impossible for you to liquefy your own fruits into smoothies, or turn garbanzo beans, garlic, and oil into a smooth batch of hummus. If many of your favorite recipes incorporate blended ingredients, this is one appliance that´s worth the investment.

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Another product that all bakers should invest in is a non-slip hot pad. Typically heat-resistant up to 500 degrees, these silicone pads protect your hands and your casserole by providing much more grip than their cloth-made counterparts.

What Else Can You Do?

Of course, there are other ways to save money in the kitchen. For one, you can buy used appliances. Peruse thrift stores, garage sales, and for-sale ads, but, be diligent: a discounted item should still be evaluated with the above criteria in mind.

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Another money-saving option is to spruce up the appliances you already have. This pointer mostly applies to larger pieces, such as your refrigerator or stove. Let’s say you’ve remodeled your kitchen and your white or black appliances no longer go with the color scheme. Rather than purchasing all new stainless steel versions of the working pieces you already have, you can purchase stainless steel film and cover your preexisting equipment. This will modernize your space at a fraction of the cost.

Finally, you can save money by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Sure, gardening organically and on your own might require more work than zipping off to the store whenever you run low on produce. However, there are many benefits. Besides saving money, home gardening can be a stress reliever, as well as an activity that the entire family can enjoy.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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