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The Best Kitchen Appliances People on a Budget Should Have

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.

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 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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