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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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Monday, November 19, 2012

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Tips for Saving Money on Kitchen Equipment

Frugal Kitchens 101

We are now into November which means starting to prepare for gift giving and the holiday season. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.  I love that you can get some rather good deals for anything kitchen related but I hate being inundated with stacks and stacks of store flyers that to me are a waste of resources especially when we are on a mission to reduce paper waste in our home.  We just received the stuffed with flyers local can't opt out of newspaper.  I have to admit there are a few good sales on small kitchen appliances (eg. West Bend slow cooker reg. $31.99 on for $18.97) , kitchenware and all things kitchen related.  While small kitchen appliances go on sale throughout the year, the best time to find the bargains is during the period leading up to Christmas Day.  Kitchen items will be reduced as much as 75%  which makes waiting to buy well worth it.  The next best times for these bargains are Boxing Day followed by about the end of January when some of these small appliance gifts and kitchen ware will make their way to the resale shops (sad but true).  The reason being, even though the giver thought the receiver would love a breadmaker, the receiver didn't.   So it makes it's way to the resale store without the giver ever knowing.  I have picked up some lovely Pamper Chef pieces this way.  The second reason, is some of the kitchen items on sale for the purpose of gift giving are really unnecessary gadgets or gimmicky that result in cluttered kitchens.  Finally, another good time to find kitchenware bargains is the couple of weeks before Mother's Day.  With this in mind as to when the best times to shop for kitchen equipment here are a few tips:

  • flyers - Go through the flyers and compare the prices in the comforts of your own home.  If the price is excellent and it is a small kitchen appliance or other kitchen item you need, then take the flyer with you to the store.  Some stores will price match their competitors price which can save you an extra stop.  
  • know your prices - I am more than willing to wait for the excellent sales for our own kitchen needs as well as kitchen items for gift giving.  Some sales are good but others are excellent.  It pays to keep a price book of items you need.  For example, Canadian Tire routinely puts the Anchor 6 pc glass storage sets on sale from 30% to 50% off.  This week they are 65% off so I'll pick up a couple of sets for gift giving because I know this is going to be about the best price I will find for new sets.  
  • be prepared - I keep a price book, well actually it's now on my iPad in our ongoing efforts to reduce paper waste, of household items we want or need.  My rule of thumb is to never by anything kitchen related that is not on sale.  Even stocking our vacation home, everything was bought on sale.  At the same time, I am prepared to buy if there is an excellent sale on a kitchen item.  I keep a small stash of funds on hand that basically comes partly from saving on grocery shopping and partly from very generous gifts (eg. monetary or gift cards).
  • gift cards - Some folks like to give gift cards as gifts and I do receive gift cards as part of the compensation for various promotions on my blogs.  The instinct when getting a gift card is to rush out and buy something you want.  I'm the direct opposite.  A gift card here (Ontario, Canada) has no expiry date so it is as good as money in the bank.  I save gift cards to use when I find an excellent sale on an item I need or want for gift giving.
  • wants vs needs - One of the primary concepts of frugality is distinguishing between wants and needs.  For example, I want a meat slicer but I don't really need one because I have several good knives that will do the job manually.  Our kitchen is very well equipped so at the moment I would say we have no needs but an example need would be someone who has arthritis and can't use a manual can opener would need an electric version. If you are buying a kitchen gift for someone, do a bit of research the buy what they need.  If they don't need anything, then splurge and buy something they want.  Oh, and the research is as easy as asking a few of the right questions at the appropriate moment or simply being observant  Just keep your ears and eyes open and it will be easy to see what they need.
  • rain cheques - Sometimes a store is out of a sale item.  Unless it specifies in the flyer 'no rain cheques', ask for a rain cheque.  Generally the item will arrive on the next shipment allowing you to still purchase the item at the sale price even if the sale is over.

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