Two weeks ago, I shared two of my personal favorite money saving appliances – the crockpot and an upright freezer. It is no secret that cooking at home makes you feel healthier and saves money. With the right money saving appliances, cooking at home can be easier and less time consuming. Here are three more money and time saving appliances everyone should have in their kitchen.
2. Counter Top Conventional Oven: I hate to turn on the oven to do a lot of cooking, especially in the middle of summer. I found a very decent replacement for a full sized oven with the Breville Compact Smart Oven. This oven heats up quite a lot of food in less time. Of course, since the oven is smaller, I do have to use a regular oven to bake large amounts of food. However, I have been able to cook pizzas, chickens, and pies in the conventional oven.
How Does This Save on Your Grocery Bill: Counter top conventional ovens, or smart ovens, take less than five minutes to heat up to 400-degrees, and they also cook foods faster because of the smaller size. This saves money on energy costs in the long run. Since a counter top oven heats items so quickly, I can usually whip up a simple dinner, such as a chicken and cheese sandwich melt, in less than five minutes. Quick meals like this make takeout and fast food unnecessary.
How to Get a Counter Top Conventional Oven for Less: Look for a good counter top conventional oven during Black Friday or through Craigslist. This type of oven can replace your toaster and microwave too, therefore, you can consider not buying those appliances as money saved.
3. Bread Machine: The bread machine had a very popular boom about fifteen years ago. Now, it seems that either people love them or hate them. The main purpose I use my bread machine is for doing all the hard work of bread making, without actually baking the bread. Of course, many people love the way bread machines bake bread, but I personally do not enjoy the hole that is left in the bread. So instead, I will make rolls, breads, and even pizza dough from scratch and have the bread machine do all of the mixing, kneading, and rising for me. I just set it on the “dough” option. After the bread machine does all of the work, I just have to put the dough in bread pans and bake or separate the dough into rolls and bake.
How Does This Save on Your Grocery Bill: Homemade bread and baked goods can definitely take a good portion of your grocery budget, especially if you have a large family. With the right recipes, you can bake your own bread, bagels, rolls, pizza dough, and more. Buy flour and yeast in bulk and make extra baked goods to store in the freezer to save time in the long run.
How to Get a Bread Machine for Less: It seems that everyone has an unused bread machine at their yard sale or even sitting in their homes. Ask around and search local yard sales to score a great bread machine for less than $20.
4. Multi-Use Rice Maker: Think a rice cooker can only cook rice? Think again! Just recently, I bought the Aroma 3 Quart Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, and I was amazed at how many things I can cook in it. Since this type of rice cooker has many heating options, I can cook rice, steam vegetables, and slow cook other meals, such as soup or meat. I have even cooked beans on the slow cook option. Even though the heating option says “slow cook”, it cooked my raw beans in about three hours. So it cooks faster than a slow cooker, but its small size is not idea for large recipes.
How Does This Save on Your Grocery Bill: The size of this rice maker is large enough to make a large batch of rice or soup/chili for a family of four. Since it is smaller, it heats faster and uses less energy in less amount of time. Buying bulk rice (such as the 10lb bags of white or brown rice from Sam’s Club or Costco) and adding them to your meal frequently will save you money on food. Brown rice is also more healthful and less expensive per pound than pasta. Use rice as a side, in salads, in bakes, and in burritos. Try cooking lentils or other grain, such as quinoa in the rice cooker too.
How to Get a Rice Maker for Less: While this specific rice maker is more than $45 on Amazon, it cost less than $30 at Costco, depending on the store. Other rice makers may be able to slow cook and steam (with the use of a steam basket), so if you already have a rice cooker, put it to the test.
5. Ice Maker: The average ice maker actually increases energy consumption by 12% to 20% when it’s on—which for most people is all the time. It’s not the freezing that does it—your freezer’s going to be cold whether you have an automatic ice maker or not—it’s the motor that dumps the ice in to the tray, you can get the best chest freezer in the market. Since it operates inside a freezer, it actually has its own little heater inside to keep the mechanism from freezing (is this sounding silly yet?), and heating elements require power.
While these appliances are great for saving time and money in the kitchen, they will not reduce your grocery bill unless you actually use them! Use these appliances to cook meals from scratch, instead of buying the processed or canned versions.What are your favorite money saving appliances?