Kitchen Essentials Every Frugal Kitchen Needs

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You’ve heard it time and time again. If you’re trying to save money then it’s best to cook at home and avoid eating out frequently. Doing this one thing could help you save quite a bit of money. We’re talking hundreds of dollars a week and thousands of dollars over the course of a year pending on how much you normally eat out.

Think of what you could do with all that extra money.

You could:

  • Start an emergency fund
  • Save more towards your retirement
  • Put it towards paying off your debt

There are so many possibilities. Sounds easy enough, right?


Then reality hits and even though you have the best intentions and want to turn over a new leaf (high-five!) you don’t know where to start.

Related: Reusable Products That Will Save You Money

I’ve been there and my advice is to do everything (within reason) to set yourself up for success in the kitchen. Your time is limited and so very precious so make sure your kitchen is equipped with the right tools that’ll make your life easier.

Here’s my list of must-have kitchen essentials that have helped me go from eating out 5+ times a week to 1-2 times a week. Most things on my list are inexpensive but there’s a couple of things that I had to think long and hard about because of the cost and I can say it’s been well worth the money for me.


1. Instant Pot

If you’re anything like me, you waited a long time to get on the Instant Pot train. And if you haven’t, I highly suggest you get one if you do any cooking at home (which you definitely should be doing). Before I got my Instant Pot, I kept hearing how amazing they were, but I didn’t want an additional appliance cluttering up my kitchen and to spend money unnecessarily. I thought because I had a crockpot, that it was good enough. And I’m here to tell you, the crockpot has NOTHING on the Instant Pot. It’s so much better than the crockpot because I don’t have to wait 8 hours for my food to be done. Also, the Instant Pot never dries out my meals like the crockpot has in the past. It has made cooking so much easier because I only have to use that one pot to saute my veggies and brown my meat. It’s been nothing short of amazing! I’ve used it at least once a week. I highly recommend the 8 qt Instant Pot (which I have) so you can double your recipes to freeze.


2. Over the sink prep station

We eat a ton of fresh veggies and I was constantly walking back and forth from the sink to my cutting board. This over the sink prep station has helped me prep my vegetables a lot quicker because I’m no longer running back and forth. It’s a bit large, so if you don’t have space in your kitchen this is not for you.


3. Pyrex mixing bowls

These bowls are amazing. Really anything Pyrex is amazing in my opinion. These Pyrex bowls can be used to mix batter, make salads, and store your food. I like that I can serve something in this dish and keep it in the same dish to store it in the fridge. I love when kitchen items are multifunctional and saves me time and space.


4. Knife sharpener

Knives are a super important utensil in every kitchen. You use them for practically every meal. So it’s not surprising that knives get dull and need to be sharpened. I’ve been guilty of not sharpening my knives for a year (or more). But once I started sharpening my knives on a regular basis, it has made cutting 100% easier and faster! Everyone needs a knife sharpener.


5. Oxo airtight containers

These Oxo containers have kept my food fresh and my pantry organized. I no longer waste food because it went stale. It’s also a lot easier for me to see what I have in the pantry without me digging through all the opened boxes to see what I have left.


6. Hands-free food storage bag holder

This hands-free food storage bag holder is genius! It helps you easily keep the bag open so you can fill them with your leftovers or freezer meals. It’s like having an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.


7. Handheld mixer

I hate stirring things by hand so if I can use my hand mixer, I’m all for it! It saves me so much time and energy. I even have one of the large KitchenAid mixers but never use it because my handheld mixer does the job. I’ve had my Oster hand mixer for about 12 years and it’s still going strong.


8. Pyrex baking dishes

Pyrex has the best set of baking dishes. They are really durable and won’t warp or stain. It’s great for making casseroles, bread, and really anything else that goes in the oven. I know that I’ll have these dishes for a super long time so they’re worth every penny to me.


9. A good set of pots and pans

A nice set of cookware will last many years. Stainless steel and cast iron seem to be the best. They may be more expensive than the nonstick cookware, but they will last a lot longer than the nonstick version. This will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to keep replacing pots and pans when the non-stick coating wears off. Also, having good cookware is essential for you to cook and eat at home.

Cooking is definitely more work than eating out but if you’re serious about saving money then it’s something you must do. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Plus with the right tools and a little bit of practice you can make some really tasty meals that’ll save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.

What’s your one must have kitchen essential that you couldn’t live without?

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