How To Get Your Kitchen Tools On The Cheap

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices.

What’s the cheapest way to stock a kitchen on the cheap? Get married! That’s what half your gifts will be! Just kidding (kinda). If you’ve just moved into your own place for the first time and are trying to figure out a way to keep your kitchen prepared for kitchen tasks, how can you do so on the cheap?

What do you need? How do you find these items without breaking the bank? Let’s take a look…

Cast-iron skillets

Every kitchen needs a couple of cast-iron skillets. They’re healthier to cook with compared to non-stick pans, they give you additional dietary iron, they help your food to taste better, and they last forever! There’s no reason not to have cast-iron cookware.

Thankfully, as pointed out, cast-iron cookware lasts forever. And it’s everywhere. Not only is more and more continually being produced, but that which was crafted 100 years ago is still around as well. It’s because of this that there’s no reason whatsoever to pay sticker price for a brand new set of cast-iron skillets from Lodge.

You can always find cast-iron at flea markets, yard sales, and antique stores for just a few dollars. People practically throw this stuff away. You can go out and easily come back home with a skillet and a frying pan here for right around $10.

Spatulas, ladles, and other kitchen utensils

kitchen tools on the cheap
If it fits in one of these honey pots, I call it a “kitchen utensil.”

Don’t be gross. Buy these new. You have to have the means to dish out meals, cook eggs, and stir soup as it’s on the stove, and that’s where these utensils come into play. The best place I’ve seen to pick these up on the cheap is at the Dollar Store. You can walk out of the Dollar Store having spent $10 and with 8-9 different utensils in your bag that will help you to mash potatoes, serve soup, and the like.

You have to have these, and that’s the best place to get them.


Technically, a toaster isn’t really a necessity – I make most of my toast with my cast-iron skillet – but if you’re looking for a toaster, I think you need to buy brand new. I don’t like the idea of buying a used toaster unless I know the seller.

It’s possible to spend quite a bit of a toaster, which is rather ridiculous, but if you’re looking to pick up one for as little money as possible, I recommend checking out this model here.

You’ll spend $20 for a toaster that can toast two pieces of bread at a time, and that gets the job done. And that’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it?


You pretty much have to have a microwave. Thankfully, you can often pick these up for free from a friend who is moving and have found themselves in possession of an extra microwave. College campuses are a great place to find microwaves for free if you’re willing to walk by the dumpsters in May. Oftentimes you’ll see them sitting on the ground nearby.

That’s a bit of an extreme method to finding a microwave, but it is a possibility. If you find yourself needing to buy one, check out this one here. It’ll cost you around $75, but that’s about as cheap of a brand-new microwave that you’re ever going to see.


There are a host of uses for a blender, and I often end up using one of these rather than a food processor. If you’re on a very tight budget with setting up your kitchen, I personally would start with a blender first and then save up for a food processor in the future. Food processors are typically around $70, so they’re not insanely expensive, but a blender can do a lot.

If you are deep into cooking dishes that really benefit from a food processor, then you need what you need. If not, a blender will do just fine, and you can pick up one of these for $30 or so.


I don’t think that plastic utensils save you money in the long run. If you’re buying a box of plasticware once a month, eventually, it will have been cheaper for you to have just purchased actual silverware. The three places that I would look for silverware would be yard sales, online sales forums, and Amazon.

I see old silverware sets for sale regularly at yard sales for very cheap, and you can regularly find them on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and other online peer-to-peer sales forums as well. If all else fails, this set from Amazon is very inexpensive and will allow you to entertain your friends without being short of forks and spoons.


While you could technically get by with a whisk, a bowl, and muscle power just like grandma, having a mixer will make your life much, much easier if you regularly do any type of baking. I would go ahead and buy one of these new ones so that you know what to expect with the lifespan of the tool.

This one is available for $20, and you’re not going to find one out there cheaper.


The most convenient and inexpensive means I know of for making coffee is with a French press. Keurigs or any other type of coffee maker that requires a K-cup is exorbitantly expensive compared to a cup of French press coffee. There are no filters to buy or anything with a French press. You spend $20 for your French press, you buy your coffee grounds, and you’re good to go. That’s all you need.


A kettle is another item you can find at any antique mall, flea market, or yard sale out there. I use mine on a daily basis to make oatmeal, coffee, and tea. You can get by without one – we grew up using a glass pot to boil water to make tea – but a kettle is a little less primitive. You can pick up a brand-new one for right around $20.

Mixing bowls

The easiest place to pick these up is at your local Dollar Store. Mixing bowls are a necessary tool in any kitchen, and you’re going to need at least three. Three dollars later you can be set in this department.

A cutting board

Again, the Dollar Store is your hero here. You can make your own if you have some wood laying around (NOT pressure-treated, chemically stuff), but for a dollar, you can easily pick one up at the Dollar Store as well. Don’t buy used ones of these. Overtime, these can end up harboring bacteria, and you don’t want somebody’s grimy cutting board in your kitchen.

What are your thoughts?

Obviously, this isn’t a complete list of every kitchen tool out there, but this will help you to cook and bake the great majority of meals out there. What are your thoughts, though? Are there other items you think should have made the cut? Are there other sources for cheap kitchen tools? Let us know in the comments below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network. 

How To Get Your Kitchen Tools On The Cheap
Aden Tate

Aden Tate

About the Author Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,,,, and Along with being a freelance writer he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

11 thoughts on “How To Get Your Kitchen Tools On The Cheap”

  1. Cast iron pans are very useful and a must have. A microwave however is not. That is one item I have not had in my kitchen since the late 1990s.

  2. Marti Baker Girl

    When it comes to cast iron, I absolutely love it. For me, the older cast ironware made in the USA is better. It doesn’t take that long to season one once it is cleaned up. The prices I have seen for such are more than your listed price. In the southeast (even in rural areas), these start at about $20 and upwards. I purchased a new Lodge pan on base for a very good price, however I seldom use it after years of trying to get it seasoned properly. The iron is just different from what was made in the USA prior to outsourcing.

  3. Used toasters, blenders, coffee pots and utensils can be found at garage sales and thrift stores ( look for their discount days). Don’t let the squeamish factor deter you. Soapy water and bleach are great sterilizers. Toasters bake the toast which kills bacteria and other undesirables.

  4. I agree SIS, my toaster is used and I have had no issues, same with the coffee maker and the blender. The thrift stores around my area will allow you to return within a time frame if the appliance isnt working.

    As far as mixing bowls, I go for stainless steel as they are practically indestructible. You can find these super cheap at the thrift stores also.

  5. While I have a couple of microwave castoffs, I’ve found they make better storage containers than anything else. I’ll take a multi-function rice cooker with a large steamer basket any day instead. If you do a little online research, you’ll be amazed at the many things the better rice cookers can do — a flexibility that most non-Asians don’t know about.

    Other things to appreciate from the Asian cultures include a #4 stainless steel rectangular cleaver that can not only slice and dice your veggies but can probably pick up most of that when turned sideways. I’ve learned that if you just slightly dull the cutting edge a wee bit off of razor sharpness, it will still do your cutting work with much less risk of snagging and cutting your skin or clothes.

    While there are a variety of wok designs, the cast iron versions with flat outside bottoms but with continuously curved insides give you more variety of use for kitchen stoves, camp fires or duel fuel camping stoves.

    Later when your financials get better, it’s worth adding a hand-crankable grain mill to your bag of tricks that’s capable of processing virtually any whole grain (or blend of various grains of your choice, taste or even medical preference) into flour as needed. That way you can store the whole grains easily for many years without deterioration … and only mill as much as needed on the fly. The better mills can even grind nuts (or a variety of nut types) into nut butter … and even grind dried beans into flour for cooking. Again the benefits to you and yours for variety, taste and medical preferences keep increasing in some amazing ways.

    If you shop for induction-capable pressure cookers, you can find faster cookers that can also work on non-induction kitchen stoves, multi-fuel camp stoves or camp fires.

    The ability to select and regularly use multi-function gear can enhance your ability to cook not only daily but also if there’s a local power outage, if you need to exercise a little camp cooking skill, or if you might have some extended travel cooking needs.


  6. I didn’t see anything about buy nothing groups in the article and in my local buy nothing group I’ve seen many of the above mentioned items being offered. Buy nothing groups (Facebook) are an outstanding resource

  7. We use chopsticks for most of our eating. They can be used for cooking too. Easy to clean, cheap, help you eat more mindfully. You really only need one knife fork and spoon per person so silverware shouldn’t be expensive at all.

  8. Cast iron is a must have if you want to be a frugal chef, and worth investing a few dollars in since they last literally forever. Cast iron gives you flexibility in the kitchen that non-stick doesn’t allow for, and non-stick will have to be replaced eventually. Cast iron doesn’t have to be super expensive either, used or new. I happen to live in TN not too far from the Lodge factory (yes, it’s all made in the USA) and you can get their factory 2nds at their store just a couple blocks from the foundry, about a third of the price if you bought it new.

  9. Oh, one more thought – regarding the usefulness of a mixer: It’s not as hard as people think to use muscle power to mix dough, whisk things, make cheesecake batter, etc. The key is to have a strong enough utensil. For mixing wet dough I use a wooden paddle like thing I bought at an asian market, I think it was two or three dollars. The sturdy handle makes it so much easier to put all your strength into it and you can use it to scrape the sides of the bowl. They are easy to find – they are made of bamboo usually and have a curved side and a straight side, kind of look like a paddle.

    A wooden spoon is also good for mixing, you can get a good grip. They also sell big sturdy metal spoons for four or five dollars each at most big grocery stores and you only need one. A simple wire whisk is great for anything delicate.

    I actually own a food processor with a dough hook and also a hand mixer and I haven’t used either once, because it’s easier to just mix everything by hand than it is to clean the extra equipment. It’s not hard to knead dough either, people make a bigger fuss over that than it’s worth.

    So in conclusion – the only thing I’d use a mixer for is whipping egg whites, an operation I basically never have to do. Your mileage may vary but using a hand option isn’t hard.

  10. When you buy cast iron if the seasoning is uneven or it’s cast irregularly you can take it to an auto body shop that sandblasts the finish off cars and they can smooth out your frying pan for about $25 or may do it for free if you talk nice 🙂 When you get the pan, consider how many people you’re cooking for. The ones big enough to deep fry chicken for six are heavy and really add to your weight load in a car or a camper. Consider getting an “egg or toast” size of 8 inches rather than the classic larger one; it’s easier to handle and store and far easier to clean and season.

    The one small electric appliance I really love is a KitchenAid stand mixer. Kneads bread, which now that I have arthritis in my wrists is a big thing. It makes great cookie dough or large batches of anything like meatloaf that requires mixing. They are expensive but pay for themselves quickly if you buy expensive bread and start making it instead. If you find one in a thrift and can plug it in, you can tell right away if it works well. Most people buy them then make cinnamon rolls or something twice a year or use it only at the holidays, so they’re in pretty good shape. And if you get it used, it’s often with attachments like the paddle and dough hook included in the price. If you have the money, put a “wanted” ad in a local exchange site and offer half price; often people forget how much the mixer cost them and when they realize how much they can get, they decide to part with something they don’t use very much for the cash in hand. Works with almost any high-cost item people buy on impulse because they watched a cooking show, then don’t actually get around to using regularly.

  11. Bill in Houston

    “You can always find cast-iron at flea markets, yard sales, and antique stores for just a few dollars. ”

    No, you can’t. They’ve become quite popular and trendy. I know because we looked. Finally bought a set of two at Costco for about $25. They were also pre-seasoned.

    As for silverware and mixing bowls (you want them to last more than a week), go to a restaurant supply store. We bought basic forks, knives, and spoons (packs of 24) for less than $3 each. Fancier stuff was more… some a lot more. Mixing bowls (glass) were a few dollars.

    If it is just you, you don’t need a stainless steel 34 ounce french press. You can find a 16 ounce press (glass) for less than ten bucks.

    You can still find stuff on the cheap without sacrificing quality.

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