Monday, June 1, 2009

Dieting on a Budget: Gadgets & Appliances

I have a very limited income & am a divorced/single mother to 3 teens. This being said, we all know that healthy eating is often the most expensive way to go. While many comment "oh you can afford to eat healthy if you really want to", they generally are not feeding a family or live in an area where fresh produce is quite affordable due to climate.

I'm a real person, on a "less than" real budget, in an area that gets very thankful with 2 months of summer!

One of the best ways I've found to cut costs getting and staying healthy is by purchasing my appliances (small) and gadgets used. Some of my most recent finds I list below. Hope you enjoy!

Gadgets & Appliances

Nearly everything I own in the kitchen gadget or small appliance wise has been purchased used. I am picky about "how" used it is and won't just take something because it's cheap! What have I found? Oh you would be surprised! I've listed the most recent buys off the top of my head, with pics when available easily!

  • Juicer - listed on a local recycle/garage sale type list from Yahoo, my 450 watt GE Juicer was literally used once! Came in the box, with all info, including the warranty card to send in! Cost: $20 Estimated Value New: $70-$90 MINIMUM SAVED: $50

    My juicer is my newest "toy" and I've loved making fresh juices. I spend a lot on Naked Juice, which I'm not complaining about because I LOVE them, and was hoping to eliminate some of the cost by creating my own "Naked" juices at home. I can't come close, but they're still good & it's a work in progress. My issue here is that fresh fruit is very expensive unless "in season" and "in season" in the Northeastern region of the U.S. is not a long time!

  • Blender - while blenders can be a fairly inexpensive small appliance at WalMart, I purchased mine at my favorite consignment store & have been using it for about a year now! My Hamilton Beach 14 Speed BlendMaster has been my Smoothie Savior! Cost: $5 Estimated Value New: $40-$70 MINIMUM SAVED: $35

    I use my blender mainly for smoothies. My preference seems to be the Weight Watcher brand smoothie mix, blended with water. I add fruits or fruit juices sometimes for a change up in flavor.

    Some of my faves using the chocolate smoothie mix: Chocolate Peanut Butter(2) (using reduced fat PB), Chocolate Banana(3) (using a frozen banana), and Chocolate Oreo(3) (using the 100 calorie packs of Oreo thins)

    Some of my faves using the mixed berry smoothie mix: Berry Banana(3) (using a frozen banana), Mango Berry(3) (using fresh Mango juice from my juicer)

  • Toaster Oven - My Black & Decker toaster oven was a real find. Still in the box, new, & reduced to 1/2 off! Again, found at my favorite consignment/used store locally, I'm happy I found it because I use it often! Cost: $5 Estimated Value New: $40-$50 MINIMUM SAVED: $35

    I love to make toasted English Muffins with fat free feta and fat free salsa on top(2) in my toaster oven! Yum-o! I also use it often to create toasted cheese sandwiches(2) (easily created with a spray of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray on each side and a low fat cheese in between 2 slices of 1pt bread.) Add a toasted cheese to a big bowl of tomato soup and there's a comfort meal that will rock my socks off! I rarely use it to simply make toast, that's what the toaster is for silly, but I do use it often to make quick snacks or meals especially if my kids aren't around!
  1. Wait to find items on sale, even if you absolutely MUST have something, you've done this long without it! Wait it out!

  2. Find the item you'd like to have "used", via consignment/used stores or online locally with groups such as Recycler or YardSale groups. Paying the extra shipping costs for most small appliances online from e-bay make it nearly as expensive, sometimes more than purchasing the item new!

  3. Find knock-off versions of the items you like. I purchased, used, a Foreman Style grill which in the end was 100x better than the real thing, and a lot cheaper! I use it so much that I'd be embarrassed to take a pic of it to show you! But let me tell you, it works as well as, no BETTER THAN the real brand name. It was actually made BEFORE Foreman even brought his grill out!
Next round I'll list some great inexpensive meals, treats & food ideas that can be found in various stores. Of course, I won't have the same stores as everyone else but perhaps you can talk you local versions of the grocery store into carrying some of the items I mention!

As always, feel free to comment on how YOU make being healthy cheaper and easier for you and your family!