Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Kitchen Appliances & Accessories Upgrade - Savvy Style

I love Williams-Sonoma. I like wandering through the store (the Superstars love it as well since it sometimes means samples) and I love flipping through the catalog dreaming of the delicious meals I could make with their state-of-the-art equipment. It is, however, expensive!

One of the things that I've love about Savvy Shopping (and thrift stores in particular) is that it's been a great way to upgrade my small kitchen appliances and accessories in my attempts to make the perfect meal quickly and with little mess. Not that there was anything really wrong with the ones we had, but most were 10 years old (from our wedding gift registry) and some even predated our dating!

Other upgrades I wanted were luxury items that I didn't NEED to have for the average price for which they were selling. For example, I love my KitchenAide mixer and use it fairly regularly, but I still wouldn't have spend $180-$300 for one - good thing I found it at Goodwill for just $9.81! The following are more examples of finds in the last few years that have made (and one I WISH I had made). When all added up (including the $10 I MADE selling my old items on Craigslist) I spent about $46 for almost $1000 worth of kitchen supplies. SERIOUSLY!

Imperial Gray KitchenAide Proline Mixer

Paid: $10.00
Approximate Retail: $400+ (with extra bowl)
Savvy Savings: $390

I mention this amazing deal in my post How I Became A Thrift Store Maven but it bears mentioning again. I found this beautiful mixer including an extra bowl and all three standard attachments for $10. It was a little dusty, a little oily but worked perfectly. This is one of my all time favorite finds.

DeLonghi 4-slice Retro Toaster

Paid: $5
Approximate Retail: $110
Savvy Savings: $105

With 4 people in our family it's nice when the toast gets done all at the same time. I also love that this deLonghi is in the same stainless steel color that we use in the kitchen, although truthfully, we don't keep it on the counter...too many crumbs. As a bonus, I sold the old toaster oven for $10 on Craigslist.

ISI Stainless Steel Whip Creamer & Two Boxes of Cartridges

Paid: $10

Approximate Retail: $125

Savvy Savings: $115

Now I love whip cream as much as the next person...ok, maybe more. I had always heard that the ISI whip creamer was fabulous and well, all the people that use it on The Food Channel seemed to be in love with it as well. So when I found this beauty NEW and in the box with two FULL packages of N2O cartridges I was chomping at the bit to find out how much they wanted for it since it had no price tag. The woman behind the counter had no idea about it so she just said "How about $9.99." To which I practically yelled, "SOLD!"
Now, I knew they were expensive, but I didn't know HOW expensive. When I checked it out at Williams-Sonoma the Creamer itself runs $100 and each cartridge box is about $12. Believe it or not, we use this often. I add a touch of vanilla extract to the container and it makes incredible whip cream, and so much healthier than Redi-whip. I've heard you can add liquor to the cream to make an awesome addition to desserts.

Moulinex Food Processor

Paid: $8
Approximate Retail: $130
Savvy Savings: $122

I found this the same day that I found the Proline KitchenAid mixer and was giddy with delight. The food processor with blender attachment and all the extras was BRAND NEW IN THE BOX and had never been used. I've since disposed of the box, but it's a beauty! While Moulinex may not be a brand that many people here recognize, it is made by a French manufacturer but I have no idea how it ended up here in the US, maybe by way of a French-Canadian who moved to Music City to become a country music star? I've heard crazier things!

Oster Hand Held Immersion Blender

Paid: $2
Approximate Retail: $25
Savvy Savings: $23

Immersion blenders are great for pureeing soups in the pot and dechunking chunky spaghetti sauce (something I do from time to time since Beloved doesn't like it when I make the spaghetti sauce too chunky, something about the texture bothers him...hey, it's one of his only quirks so I roll with it!). No more dumping it into the food processor to smooth it and dumping it back into the pot and all the accompanying mess & frustration!

Wusthoff Wood Knife Block

Paid: $3
Approximate Retail: $40
Savvy Savings: $37

When Beloved and I got married 10 years ago we registered for a Wusthof knife block set, which at the time only came in maple and in black. About a year ago I happened upon this dark wood Wusthof block, sans knives, at Goodwill and immediately donated the other. It's a small purely aesthetic change for which I would have never paid $40.

Krups Fast Touch Coffee Mill

Paid: $3
Approximate Retail: $20
Savvy Savings: $17

They say fresh ground coffee beans yield the best coffee but it sure is messy, so I grind it at the store and keep it in an airtight container. We go through it so quickly that I don't concern myself with the atrition rate, but alas, my friend's who know about my coffee addiction had been giving me unground coffee beans as gifts. Problem solved when I found this new-in-the-box Krups coffee grinder with a price tag of $20 on top.

Starbucks Stainless Steel Vacuum Container

Paid: $6
Approximate Retail: $40

Savvy Savings: $34

Speaking about coffee...after reading The Joy of Coffee (yes there is a book by that name, and mighty informative as well!) I learned that you should NEVER leave coffee on the warmer after brewing. It grows bitter the longer it sits there. Upon this discovery I kept my eye out for a vacuum coffee canister and found this beautiful Starbucks Stainless Steel container for just $6, it still had the $39.99 price sticker on the bottom.

George Foreman Stainless Steel Grill

Paid: $5
Approximate Retail: $50

Savvy Savings: $45

I think we received a George Foreman grill from my Beloved's grandparents as a Christmas gift somewhere along the way. We LOVE the amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and "paninis" that we are able to grill on the counter top. Problem was that it was kind of small and could only grill one sandwich at a time. Imagine my delight when I found this larger size (which grills 2 sandwiches at a time) for just $5 at the thrift store. Not only does it match the other stainless, but has an adjustable digital timer and fits well under the counter. Again, I sold the old machine for $10 on Craiglist so I basically made money for trading up.

Le Creuset Yellow 9" Skillet (#23)

Paid: $4
Approximate Retail: $100

Savvy Savings: $96

Le Creuset started in 1925 and has been making the colorful enamel ware that symbolizes classic cooking. While beautiful, it is expensive AND heavy! My girlfriend has a whole set and though she loves cooking with it, once filled with water it can be difficult to handle. That said, I was delighted to find this little 9" skillet, perfectly seasoned and in good condition. I love the size which is still manageable for sauteing more than one item at a time on the stove, and well, for just $4 I was a very happy camper.

Vinotemp Wine Fridge (a.k.a. The One That Got Away)

Goodwill Price: $20
Approximate Retail Price: $175
Savvy Savings Missed: $155

Alas, there are times when some other Savvy Shopper gets to an incredible piece before I do and this is one of the few times I was green with envy. So much so I had to take a picture and show y'all. Sigh. I was sick to my stomach on missing this deal!

I think sometimes people think of thrift store shopping only when it comes to clothing, which admittedly fills over half the store, but look what I could have missed if I hadn't checked the rest of the store. So next time you go thrifting, make sure you check out the appliances & kitchenware section. You never know what you might find.

Oh, and don't be discouraged if you don't find anything like this your first time checking, these pieces have been collected over the last 3 years so it's not a sure thing, but since I never planned on upgrading on these items at retail price, they were definitely happy finds.

Coming up soon, updating your dinnerware savvy style!

Shop Savvy Y'all!

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