Is This Kitchen Gadget Worth the Money? Points to Consider

4 August 2017
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You can't turn on the TV or go into a retail store without seeing some sort of kitchen gadget: a specialized tool that advertisers are trying to convince you is necessary for your convenience and stress levels. Why chop vegetables, cook bacon, or make a cake the old-fashioned way when you can buy this inexpensive item?

Before you invest in more kitchenware for the kitchen, consider these points. Your final answer depends on your needs and wants so, when you've factored these concepts into the question, you can be confident that you're making a good decision.

Kitchen/Storage Space

In many home kitchens, storage space is at a premium. If you already have storage containers, gadgets, snail appliances, bakeware, and other items bursting out of cabinets and pantries, this probably isn't the best time to bring home new stuff.

You can always, of course, de-clutter. Sell or donate the items you rarely or never use; that should create space for new, better tools. Remember, though, that having free space does not obligate you to fill it; sometimes, it's nice to have some extra room just in case you find something you really want or need months, even years, from now.

Price

Spending ten dollars apiece on ten gadgets is the same, as far as your wallet is concerned, as spending one hundred dollars on one item. The small purchases add up, sometimes without you realizing just how much you've actually spent. Consider keeping a separate line in the budget, or maybe on a spreadsheet, for this kind of purchase.

Another price-related consideration is the item's actual value. If you earn ten dollars an hour at your job, you have to work a full hour (not counting tax withholdings, the idea is to keep this calculation simple) to pay for that thing. It's helpful to ask yourself, before you buy, if you think you'll get at least twice that amount of use, time-wise, out of the item. If it's a ten-dollar strawberry corer and you use it twice a year on average, you may want to stick with the paring knife. On the other hand, if you're looking at a twenty-dollar deep fryer and you'll use that appliance a few times a month, the investment may be worth it to you.

Time Savings

"Uni-taskers," or kitchen implements that do only one task, are sometimes worth the investment. Most home cooks agree that a vegetable peeler, for example, is a good buy, it only peels vegetable skins, but it's an inexpensive gadget that makes the process quicker—and safer! than a paring knife.

Some uni-taskers, though, aren't worth the money or storage space because they don't save much time or make the task that much easier. Having just a couple of small items like this may not make a huge difference, but imagine a drawer or cabinet full of them. Now you've spent a lot of money on these things, can't store other things in those spaces, and may not even remember what you've collected because you have so many things you use only a few times a year—if that often.

Ideally, you'll find the best items for your budget, needs, and resources. Each potential purchase, however small, is worth weighing with the above points in mind. You'll find yourself less often clearing out storage spaces, digging around in bins and drawers, and wondering where your extra money went.