We have toddlers. Toddlers break and lose dishes-it happens. As a result, we certainly don’t see the logic in spending a great deal of money on our dish sets and silverware. Instead, we’ve found creative ways to save money while keeping us in cups, silverware, and plates. While not everyone has dish-breaking toddlers, reducing costs anywhere in the economy is a wise decision. So, how do we do it?
Jam, sauce, and mustard jars:
In the cup department nothing really beats a good mason jar. They make strong cups and are often attractive, on top of coming filled with a food product. If you peruse your local grocery store you’ll find all variety of jars for food that when empty can be used as cups. My favorite is Dusseldorf German Mustard, which comes in a really decorative beer stein glass. It takes forever to use up the tasty mustard though. Jams and pasta sauces are also a good place to look for cool containers. You can still have a matching set even, it just may take a bit longer than buying a box of cups. As an added bonus, if you save the lids they can be used for leftovers or preserves.
For pots, pans, plates and bowls, thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find entire sets at discount prices. For example, we got an entire set of cast iron pans, which don’t break or wear out, for $35. That’s about the cost of one pan new. You can cash in on people moving too far away to take their dishes or just upgrading. Estate sales can also be a good way to get cheap dishes. Try to think long term though. Look for older sets that were made to last. I’m not saying all new dishware is crap, but a mixing bowl set from the ’60s without a scratch says something for the craftsmanship of the era.
Dollar stores and isles:
For silverware, probably the most frequently replaced dish piece in our house, we shop dollar stores and isles. You can get five forks for a dollar at Walmart for instance. They may not be fancy, but they are cheap and functional. Having kids is like having a silverware gremlin that lives with that fellow who steals one sock from the dryer, they just disappear. If you buy high-quality sets you end up spending quite a bit just on eating utensils. You may find having a nice set for special occasions a more economical choice.
More from this contributor:
Uses for Baby Wipe Boxes and Food Jars
First Person: I Save Money Planting Local Plants
5 Ways to Save on Kids Clothing