6 Kitchen Essentials Worth Investing In and How to Find Them Cheaper

Jun 17, 2021 | Budgeting Tips, How To Save Money, Shopping Tips

Is that fancy stand mixer worth the money? What about that blender your Aunt Susan said you HAVE to have?! Today, we're talking about all things kitchen essentials–when to splurge, how to save on the big-ticket items, and more!

Jordan Page using stand mixer, from Fun Cheap or Free

Before you make your wedding registry, your Christmas list, or run out to the next big sale, make sure you know which kitchen essentials are worth the investment! Reaching for the item with the smallest price tag isn't always your best bet. Sometimes, investing in pricier items pays off in the long run–especially when kitchenware is concerned.

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If you saw Jordan's Splurge vs. Save: Health and Wellness Edition video, then you know that being frugal and cheap are not the same thing! But, here's the thing, “splurging” on kitchen essentials doesn't give you license to ignore your budget and throw caution to the wind. Make sure that you still abide by the 3-month budgeting rule when buying these items. Alright, let's talk about which items are worth your money and how to find the big-ticket items for the best bargain. Here we go!


yard sale sign, from Fun Cheap or Free

Before you head out to buy any of the items on this list, make sure you stretch your dollar as far as it will go! Yes, some pricey items are worth the splurge, but no, you don't have to pay full price. Ever! Here are four easy ways to save a ton of cash on kitchen essentials.

  • Buy Used – There's nothing wrong with buying used, Freebs! In fact, some of the “used” items you can buy online weren't even technically used. Check out yard sales, thrift shops, Nextdoor, or Facebook Marketplace. We've seen Instant Pots, Air Fryers, blenders, juicers, and more!
  • Shop Semi-Annual Sales – Use the annual sales cycles to your advantage! Appliances and cookware, for example, tend to go on sale in November.
  • Amazon Warehouse Deals – Here's a little-known secret to shopping on Amazon! If you head to the “hidden” Amazon Warehouse portion of their site, you can find open-box products for as much as 70% off. And, yep. They have kitchen essentials, too!
  • Use Credit Card Rewards – If you've got a rewards credit card (or if you want one, and you can commit to paying down the balance each month), then you can rack up rewards points or cash to spend on high-dollar items. If you have a card with 5% cashback, you could earn enough for an Instant Pot or stand mixer pretty quickly just by using the credit card to buy groceries or gas.

Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to ask for price matching. For example, if you see a lower price in the Target app than in the store, show your cashier, and they'll honor the price.


Kitchen Aid stand mixer, from Fun Cheap or Free

Alright, Freebs! Ready to go shopping? Our number one pick for a kitchen essentials splurge is a stand mixer. A good quality stand mixer will last for a LONG time. Instead of buying a new “cheaper” one every few years, invest in a mixer that will last. If you're into shelf cooking, that stand mixer will get plenty of use! Here are three to check out:

  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer – This is basically the holy grail of all kitchen appliances! If you can spring for it, we highly recommend buying a KitchenAid mixer.
  • Hamilton Beach – If you're looking for an alternative that's easier on the budget, the Hamilton Beach electric stand mixer is a formidable competitor. It racks up rave reviews and only costs about $100 new.
  • Delish by Dash – If you're short on space, this compact stand mixer by Dash is a good option. It comes in five different colors, and at less than $80, you can save up for it in no time!

If you like to cook or bake, it won't take long to recoup the costs of your stand mixer! Our biggest piece of advice: buy the best version you can afford. It's a worthy splurge, so whip it good!

Pro Tip: If you sign up for the Bed Bath & Beyond email list, you'll get a 20% coupon every month. Use that for a pricier purchase (like a stand mixer) to make the most of the savings.


stainless steel kitchen essentials cookware, from Fun Cheap or Free

Pots and pans might not seem as exciting as a fancy stand mixer, but they're arguably the most important thing you can buy for your kitchen. If you think about it, you use cookware every day. Don't cheap out on this kitchen essential! Here are three stainless steel cookware options the pros love:

  • T-fal Ultimate Copper Bottom Stainless Steel Cookware – If you can afford to invest around $200 in cookware, this T-fal 13-piece set scores rave reviews on Amazon. Put it on your wedding registry or Christmas list if you need a little help affording it!
  • Cuisinart Chef's Classic – Want to spend a bit less? This Cuisinart 11-piece cookware set ships in one day with Amazon Prime and has racked up thousands of 5-star reviews.
  • Cook N Home Stainless Steel Cookware – If you're looking for the best bargain option, Amazon's pick is this Cook N Home cookware set that rings in for well under $100. This cookware is perfect for newlyweds or college students looking for a reliable option that won't break the bank!

Ready to keep going? Our next kitchen essentials investment pick is a good set of knives!


cutting watermelon with a knife, from Fun Cheap or Free

Trust us on this one. Cheap knives just. don't. cut. it. Save yourself the frustration and spring for a good set! Chop it like it's hot with one of these options:

  • Cutco Knives Look, we know that these are expensive with a capital “E.” But Cutco knives are the creme de la creme. If you can save up for them, we think Cutco knives are worth it. They come with a lifetime guarantee, so they literally last forever! They usually come to Costco every so often, so be on the lookout for them and you'll snag them for cheaper.
  • TUO Knives – This TUO knife set is so popular that it often sells out on Amazon.
  • WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife – If you want to build your collection slowly, the WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife earns fave reviews and is priced reasonably.

Good knives are definitely an investment, but they're worth it. The cheap ones just don't cut it!


woman using a blender in her kitchen, from Fun Cheap or Free

We made the mistake of buying a cheap blender once, and we'll never do that again! They just don't work well at all. Save up for a good blender like one of these:

  • Vitamix Self-Cleaning Blender – Don't let the price tag scare you! This Vitamix blender is worth every penny. It gets the job done and stands the test of time!
  • Ninja Blender & Food Processor – Honestly, this Ninja blender is a steal because you get two appliances for the price of one! And it's pretty dang affordable, too. #WorthIt
  • Dash Chef Series – Aside from being gorgeous (look at that blue!), this Dash Chef Series blender is a fan-fave on Amazon.

By the way, if you've ever wondered about the difference between a food processor and blender, Shelf Cooking has got ya covered!


Instant Pot kitchen essentials list, from Fun Cheap or Free

Could we even write a post about kitchen essentials without mentioning the Instant Pot?! You guys know we love the IP around here, right? In our humble opinion, you should only buy the name brand. Here are two we love:

  • Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 – This is pretty much the OG Instant Pot, and it works like a charm!
  • Pioneer Woman Instant Pot – How stinking CUTE is this Pioneer Woman Instant Pot?! It also works like a charm, and it's a dream to look at on your kitchen counter.

If you're looking for ways to make the most of your investment, we have 35+ Instant Pot recipes on the Shelf Cooking blog!


vacuum sealer for food, from Fun Cheap or Free

A hero hiding in plain sight on the kitchen appliances aisle. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, you need one! Around here, we consider it a kitchen essential. They'll save you so much money in the long run because they keep your food fresh, meaning less waste and more money in your pocket! Here are two we like:

  • FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer – At under $200, this FoodSaver is well worth the money! Keep your freezer meals fresh, and this will pay for itself in no time.
  • FoodSaver FM2000 – This more affordable option is perfect for freezer meal newbies! You can score the FoodSaver FM2000 for under $100. It's a compact, lightweight option that's perfect for smaller spaces.

Put that vacuum sealer to work with these freezer-friendly make-ahead breakfasts.


Well, Freebs, there you have it! If you're shopping for new kitchen tools, we think these products are worth the money. Looking for more kitchen items we love? Check out our Amazon kitchen favorites!

What's your favorite kitchen splurge? Drop your favorite products and tips in the comments!

Image with text that reads "kitchen essentials" from Fun Cheap or Free

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