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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
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Monday, June 04, 2012

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Buying Small Kitchen Appliances Tips

Frugal Kitchens 101 The modern kitchen is a mecca for small kitchen appliances.  Some of them are not essential but rather nice to have and yet others are essential.  While most households have a fairly large selection of small electric appliances, it is possible to get many of them in manual (non-electric) versions.  In some cases it may be preferable to use a manual version especially if your area is prone to frequent power outages or living off the grid.  Manual small appliances may also be preferred if using them for camping or you want to reduce your electricity consumption.   As the cost of electricity continues to rise, the manual small appliances will increase in popularity.  However, small electric appliances can be essential for those with motility problems like arthritis. 

Here's a few tips to consider when buying small kitchen appliances:

  • where to purchase - Most small electric kitchen appliances are bought at box stores like Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and Wal-mart.  Those sold in specialty kitchen stores tend to have a higher price tag.  Those sold at liquidation stores (eg. Liquidation World, Giant Tiger, Big Lots) tend to have lower prices than the box stores and they may be considerably less if there is no box or manual or if it was a display model.  [We actually bought a brand new Kenmore display model microwave oven, 1,100 W for $49.99 at a liquidation store!  It has every button imaginable.]  Manual kitchen appliances can be found at dollar stores (eg. can opener) but my recommendation is to spend a bit extra for a higher quality one that will last.  One of the best sources for manual kitchen appliances is anywhere there is a Amish or Mennonite community.  Home Hardware (head office is St. Jacobs, Ontario) is a very good source for some manual small appliances as are camping supply stores (eg. Camper's World) and outdoor supplies stores (eg. Gander Mountain).  Lehman's is an excellent online source for manual kitchen appliances.  Yard sales and resale stores are a good source for some small kitchen appliances.  Check the resale stores in January and February as that's were unwanted gifted small kitchen appliances end up.
  • when to buy - Ideally and unless it is an emergency, never pay full price for a small kitchen appliance.  The large box stores often have a clearance bin or table so check there.  Certain small kitchen appliances are viewed by the stores as being seasonal.  December is always a good month to pick up small kitchen appliances on sale as is the couple of weeks before Mother's Day.  However, if you are looking for a good deal on outdoor grills (one of my kitchen must have appliances) the couple of weeks before Father's Day and end of summer sales are the times to buy.  Watch for grand opening or one day only sales as they tend to be better deals than the normal cyclic sales. 
  • need verses want -  In general, most small kitchen appliances are for convenience to lessen the work load and make it quicker.  Unless you have motility problems, most small kitchen appliances are a want not a need.  If you do a lot of home canning or entertaining, some small kitchen appliances are a need not a want and in this case it is advisable to have both electric and manual versions.  Now, there is nothing wrong in buying a small kitchen appliance you simply want but these are the appliances that tend to end up in yard sales and resale store.  If the small kitchen appliance is not an emergency (eg. can opener) refrain from buying it until you can find it on sale.  
  • avoid gimmicks - Gimmicky small kitchen appliances are a dime a dozen.  Now, if you have kids you may want the cotton candy maker or if you do a lot of entertaining you might want that chocolate fountain but the reality is these types of appliances get tossed into storage, seldom ever seeing the light of day.  They essential end up being a waste of money and valuable storage space.

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