Posts

4 Kitchen Money-Savers That Pay for Themselves in No Time at All

I’m crazy about gadgets—everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I’m in heaven—the more blades and utensils the better. And when that gadget is a true money-saver? Oh, be still my heart!

four kitchen appliances that are money savers

My favorite gadgets, of course, are ones that actually help me to save money and/or time. I’ve been fooled from time to time, spending good money on things that just did not perform well. Or the gadget turned out to be so cumbersome, using it actually complicated rather than simplified my life.

Take that One-Second Needle. It was a great idea, but sadly that is one gadget that needs to be put out of its misery, in my humble opinion.

But now and then I strike on a gadget that is so magnificent in its functionality and money-saving properties, I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Today, I want to tell you about four gadgets for the kitchen that I consider to be wise investments—money savers!

All four are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of time—and then to continue paying off in food savings, which is saying a lot as food costs continue to soar. Read more

Best Ideas for Organizing a Refrigerator

Lately, have you cleaned out your fridge? Once the expired condiments and forgotten take-out containers hit the trash, and the shelves and walls get scrubbed clean, you might as well go ahead and organize the refrigerator. The way you do that matters.

woman with open refrigerator

How to organize a refrigerator

Here is a general strategy followed in professional kitchens based on the temperature the foods need to be for food safety:

Upper shelves

Leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat items like yogurt, cottage cheese, and so forth. This area of the refrigerator is slightly warmer than the lower areas, so keep that in mind as you decide what should go here.

Read more

Best Inexpensive Small Kitchen Appliances

Recently, I heard from EC reader Douglas who has kitchen appliances on his mind:

Would you please repeat your column that describes the best inexpensive small kitchen appliances? I want to replace my mixer and small food chopper. Thanks. Your column is great. I look forward to it every day. Doug

middle age male taking notes on the sofa

After a few moments of non-productive searching, my confused self realized that while I’ve included some small kitchen appliances in the past, the column Doug was looking for didn’t exist. Now it does. Thanks, Douglas for that kick I needed and your nice comments, too.

Best Inexpensive small kitchen appliances

collage of 11 small kitchen appliances

1. Food processor

The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is simple to use offering 2 speeds, a powerful 450-watt motor, and a large feed tube. Just the perfect size and a great price, too.

Hamilton Beach food processor

 

2. Hand mixer

When selecting an electric mixer, consider carefully your specific need. If you often use a mixer for small jobs, my pick for Best Inexpensive is the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer. Comes complete with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty. If you require a more robust kitchen appliance for mixing, read on.

KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer in bright red

Read more

July is Best Time for Shopping Bargains on These 9 Items

Finding authentic hot bargains and deep discounts on the things you need often has more to do with when you shop than where. It’s all about knowing the best time to buy.  And the time is now for great July shopping bargains.

In the same way that cars are often discounted late in the season and just before new models are introduced, appliances, clothes, sporting goods, linens, home decor, and even travel deals are predictably discounted for a variety of different reasons. In fact, 4th of July sales are known as Black Friday in July—a chance to get a deal iPads, 4K TVs, outdoor grills, appliances, and sporting goods, too— at Black Friday-like prices.

As July temperatures soar, keep an eye out for these hot bargains.

A book sitting on top of a wooden table

Outdoor grills

July is smack dab in the middle of summer, and grill retailers are starting to sweat. They’re checking inventory. Most people purchase grills at the beginning of the season and traffic is starting to slow. What to do with all the inventory? Sell it, baby! As soon as the last fireworks display is packed up for another year, expect every kind of outdoor grill imaginable to go on sale.

Whether on Amazon or elsewhere, gas grills are a super smart buy in July because you still have plenty of choices, nearly everything available is on sale and lots of great grilling days still ahead.

A man that is standing in the grass cooking on an outdoor grill

 

Read more

2019 Holiday Gift Guide — Mary’s Favorite Things

Gift and 2019

If you woke up this morning with a sense of panic realizing there are just two weeks left until Christmas, let me offer some sweet relief—a compilation of my favorite things that I have purchased from my own money, with all details updated and now gathered into one convenient place.

You’re about to discover that my favorite things are mostly practical, which could explain why I prefer practical gifts. A new vacuum for Christmas? I’d be thrilled and delighted. All that to say that no doubt, My Favorite Things seriously reflect that personal bias. Enjoy!

 

A group of items on a table

cont’d below … 

1. Rowenta Steam Iron

This is one amazing steam iron. It is affordable, reliable and gives me great results consistently. It is comfortable to use and has enough heft to give a good press, has a super shiny stainless steel soleplate. The high steam rate blasts away wrinkles through its 400 micro steam holes. Auto shutoff has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions.

Read more

9 Ways You May Be Abusing Your Appliances

Is it possible that without knowing it, you’re making damaging even dangerous mistakes with your household appliances? As I have been researching how to take care of our new kitchen appliances so they will last longer, I’m learning about the most common appliance abuse that can lead to expensive repairs and even a shortened lifespan.

 

A modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances

It’s true that these days household appliances just aren’t made to last for decades the way refrigerators, ranges, and other household appliances lasted back in our grandparents’ day. “Eight to ten years,” is what the salesman told us is what we could expect from our new refrigerator. He went on, “This machine is designed to stand up to years of use and ordinary wear and tear—assuming you don’t abuse it.”

Let’s dig in to uncover the most common appliance abuse.

Read more

7 Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip

Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo, mobile home or dorm room, having enough electrical outlets to handle all of the accessories, appliances, and tools you need can be a challenge. And that’s when knowing how to use a power strip device safely sure comes in handy.

 

Power strip and Computer

While one of these devices can offer a reasonable solution for too few outlets, it’s a mistake to rely on power strips too much. Or to use one incorrectly. For safety’s sake, never plug these items into a power strip.

Read more

Give Your Washing Machine This Extremely Critical Check-Up Now

As wonderful as a washing machine is when it comes to saving time and effort, it can also be a troublesome member of the household. It is critical that you perform a washing machine check-up now.

 

Control panel and Machine

 

Washing machines are responsible for more than $150 million of damage in homes across the U.S. every year. Imagine a river flowing from your laundry room with hundreds of gallons of water per hour, pouring over thresholds and flooring, soaking your furniture and prized collectibles. It happens.

Imagine a river flowing from your laundry room with hundreds of gallons of water per hour, pouring over thresholds and flooring, soaking your furniture, and prized collectibles. It happens.

Washing machine hoses score number one in the line up of the most neglected maintenance items in a home.

Last year, State Farm alone paid more than 7,500 water damage claims from broken washing-machine hoses. These claims ranged from a few hundred dollars to more than $100,000. There are steps you can and should take routinely to make sure this does not happen to you.

Supply hose leaks

More than 50% of all washing machine water damage claims can be traced back to a supply hose failure. This can be caused by:

  • The hose got pinched during installation or when moved, causing a hairline break
  • A faulty connection to either the washing machine or wall
  • The hose is old and has become brittle

Annual check-up

If you have a washing machine you need to check the water inlet or “water-fill” hoses at least once a year. Not performing a washing machine check-up is like not checking the oil in your car. Nothing seems to be amiss until your life flashes in front of you as you see your sofa floating down the front walkway.  Read more