You don't need the most expensive cookware and the latest gadgets to be a great cook and prepare delicious meals. From Amazon to brick and mortar stores to garage sales, there are great deals everywhere to help you save on good kitchen tools.
When I started graduate school, I had to furnish my first apartment. My friend's mom recommended I hit up garage sales. I was shocked at how much brand new, still-in-the-box stuff you can find at garage sales! I got brand-new dishes, pots, and pans, all still in the box.
With Facebook Marketplace and apps like OfferUp and Nextdoor, there's no shortage of options to shop right from your couch. So if you are looking for any of the five must-have kitchen tools described below, and you want them at the lowest prices, check online marketplaces first.
1. Instant Pot
I absolutely love my Instant Pot. I use it a few times a week to prepare everything from soups to stews, to steel-cut oats. In the fall, when the local apples are abundant and cheap, I use it to make the most delicious applesauce. It really is a versatile workhorse!
The prices for Instant Pot fluctuate wildly, so I would suggest setting a price alert using camelcamelcamel or another Amazon price-tracker app. When it goes on sale, it's on sale everywhere, not just on Amazon. When I got mine a few years ago, I set up a price alert with one of those apps. We were on vacation in Italy when I got the alert that the price went down, so I went online and ordered it right away. When I got home this magic machine was there waiting for me!
If you don't want to set up alerts, check out Facebook Marketplace or other second-hand sources. I searched for Instant Pot in my area and found at least 10 for sale, still in the box, for a very reasonable price.
2. Good Knives
If you are serious about cooking, this is something you can't compromise on. A good chef's knife makes a huge difference. There's no need to get a whole set of knives, or get all the specialty knives; a good chef's knife and a paring knife make a world of difference. I absolutely love my Shun chef's knife, which I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon for a very reasonable price.
I thought I had decent knives before, but when I started using my Shun knife in combination with Epicurean cutting board, I was shocked at how much easier it made cutting food.
Take care of your good knives by washing and drying immediately after use and having them professionally sharpened, and they'll last a lifetime.
3. Cast-Iron Cookware
Another stalwart of a well-equipped kitchen, cast-iron cookware, can last a lifetime. It can go from stove top to the oven to the table, making clean up a breeze. And, like the Instant Pot, it's versatile and can be used for a multitude of dishes. It's also chemical-free, nonstick, and easy to clean.
There are fancy and expensive brands such as Le Creuset, but all cast-iron cookware is great. Check online marketplaces or discount stores such as HomeGoods for heavily discounted cast-iron pieces.
I've seen Le Creuset for about a third of a price at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, and other brands are even more affordable. You can also find lots of cast-iron cookware at garage sales.
4. Food Processor
There are so many things you can make in the food processor–pie dough, shredded cheese, cookie base for cheesecake. You can even prep meatloaf! To get the most use out of it, though, it's important to get a food processor that's powerful enough for all kinds of jobs.
I received a KitchenAid food processor for my wedding 15 years ago and it's still going strong.
If you're in the market for a food processor, Cuisinart is also a great brand that won't fail you. Bed Bath and Beyond will let you use 20% on these brands in-store, or check online marketplaces for people getting rid of unwanted wedding gifts.
This is another kitchen tool that can last quite a while if you purchase a quality, reliable brand.
5. Cutting Boards
If you have glass cutting boards, stop using them for cutting and use them as a cheese board or serving platter. Glass cutting boards are the worst offenders for dulling your knives. Plastic is not much better, and it also traps bacteria because it's so soft.
The best cutting boards and the most gentle on your knives are made of composite materials that include resins and a combination of wood fibers. I love the Epicurean brand. The boards are lightweight, extremely durable, and are gentle on your knives.
You can get them pretty much anywhere kitchen supplies are sold. Bed Bath and Beyond sells them in different colors and sizes, and you can use the 20% off coupon. If you order them online, don't forget to go through a shopping portal as you can double-dip by getting cash back and using the coupon.
I've also seen them for sale at HomeGoods and TJ MAXX, as well as Amazon. However, if you are shopping on Amazon, set a price alert because Amazon prices fluctuate constantly.
Equipping your kitchen with the best doesn't have to be expensive. There are ways to get great stuff at an affordable price. Certain brands can be more expensive but they will last a lot longer, saving you money in the long-term. And with all the online shopping opportunities and price-tracking apps, getting a deal is easier than ever.
What are your frugal kitchen finds? What are some of the best things you have in your kitchen?