Sunday, September 23, 2012


I'm not much of a shopper.  The thought of  spending an afternoon in a mall makes me shudder.   Seriously, I have friends who really enjoy shopping.  They all know me better than to ask me along.  Now, I enjoy antiquing or an arts/crafts festival.  I enjoy going to little towns and exploring the shops.  But, a mall?  No thank you.  My idea of going to a mall is pulling up to one of the larger department store doors with my purchase in mind, running in, making the purchase and getting out of there.

Over the years I have also learned that you get what you pay for.  If I want little tees or tanks to wear during the hot weather here in Georgia, I'll go to Kmart.  They are inexpensive, 100% cotton and since I wear them a lot, they get washed a lot. I figure if they last two seasons the $8 I spent is well worth it.  I got a darling summer dress for $14.99 at Walmart (yes, I go there once in a great while).  I get compliments every time I wear the dress.  After one summer it is a great shape.  I'll get at least another summer of wearing out of it.  Yet, for most work clothing or "nice" cloths I check the department stores or outlets for deals.  I love certain designer clothing, but only if it is very reduced. I could be a poster woman for Land's End.  Excellent value.  My closet is full of Land's End items, some of which I have had for five or six years.  I have also learned to spend the money and get quality bedding, towels, rugs, etc.  But, sales and coupons rules my spending habits.    For items over $100 I do a little research.  Just because an item is pricey or a designer name doesn't mean it is the best quality or deal.

I've been on a search for new knives.   I purchased my current set in 1997 and I didn't spend a whole lot of money on them.  They have been well used and have never been sharpened.  They won't cut water anymore.

So, I've been looking for a new set, looking at what each set offers (I don't need steak knives) and the costs.  You can spend $50 on a knife set, you can spend $500 on a knife set or your could probably spend $5,000 on a knife set.  I, however, was looking in the $200-$300 range.  I plan to take excellent care of this new set and want it to last until I can no longer cook - hopefully, a long, long time.

Many people have recommended the Pampered Chef set to me.  Now, I know Pampered Chef products can be pricey.  Like some items are totally ridiculous.  But, I also know that they have excellent products - well made and made to last.  I have never had a "party" like Tupperware or Pampered Chef.  But, I also knew I could not afford the $435 price in their catalog for the knives without have a party. The only Pampered Chef item I have is the garlic press, which I won at a party last fall.  I love it.  At that time  I couldn't afford to purchase any items, but was impressed with what the Pampered Chef lady demonstrated, how they were used and how the other ladies in attendance raved about the products.

So, I went ahead and had a Pampered Chef party.  I had told several neighbors in advance.  A few were excited as they love Pampered Chef products and were waiting for a party so purchased additional products.  A few of my friends have a kitchen full of Pampered Chef products already.  I had a good turnout.  I took a catalog to work and had a good sale of items from my co-workers.  I even emailed a bunch of my gal pals from all over the United States.  A couple did come through and made nice orders.
Pampered Chef complete knife set
But, even at half price (which came out to well over $200) I still could not afford the whole knife set at this time.   The total set consists of nine knives, utility shears and a honing tool.  But, with my hostess points, half price points, 60% and 25% off, I was able to get seven knives, the block and the utility shears.  Seriously - seven knives and the block for about $125 - is a darn good deal.  There are still three knives I don't have. I don't have the honing tool, either.   I may purchase one or two of them down the road, but for now I am thrilled.

One hot Pampered Chef item is the mandoline (spelling is a trademark of Pampered Chef), which sells for $69.  It is used for slicing food items (mainly veggies) very thin.  I was interested in this as one of my girlfriends recently purchased a mandolin at Big Lots for $4.99 and almost sliced her finger off.  Another girlfriend told me how she purchased one years ago, tried it once and ended up in the ER getting several stitches on her thumb.  Three people purchased mandoline's at my party.  Erin, my "consultant" used one throughout the demonstration.  They are great.  They have different settings and safety features.  It would be hard to slice a finger using one of these.  I think my friend should have saved up her pennies and purchased a mandoline from Pampered Chef.  Which goes along with the title of this post - you get what you pay for.  Spend more money, get the safety features.

A neighbor booked a party for early in November.  I will gladly attend and purchase some items.  Maybe another knife or the honing tool.  I also want to check out their cake pans and a spring pan, which are items I really need.  I've been pricing them at various stores around here.  I want good, sturdy pans that will hold up over time and not rust.  And, since Erin will be the consultant, I will get 10% off of any purchases I make.

Oxo Measuring Cups
For fun I went through the Pampered Chef party and highlighted all of the items I would like - some much more than others.  Then I totaled them it.  It came to $298.  Ha!  I don't think so.  My budget for the party in November will be around $80 and I am tucking money away for it. 

I need another set of measuring cups.  I don't like the ones offered by Pampered Chef, but do really like the Oxo set I saw at Target the other day.  Both are excellent companies when it comes to kitchen products and I have many Oxo kitchen utensils in my cupboards and drawers.  At about $15 you can certainly get a measuring cup set much cheaper, but these are good quality, will not bend and will hold up in the dishwasher.  Next payday I will get the measuring cups at Target or Kmart.  I know from experience they will last.
I thought my  next major purchase would be a Kitchenaid mixer.  Was lusting a red one and planned to start saving after the first of the year since they average around $350.  Then I heard about an estate sale near my house, went online to see what was included in the sale and noticed an avocado green (c. 1980s) Kitchenaid mixer.  I was at the sale 45 minutes early, made a beeline for the kitchen and grabbed the mixer after making sure it worked.  For $135 I have the bowl and basic attachments and it works like a charm.  After cleaning it up, the same day I purchased it I made cookies and banana bread.  I love it, it works and worth the money.  I called Kitchenaide and they are sending me out the user's guide.  They also told me that it didn't matter what year the mixer was made, all attachments are universal.  A 1980s mixer can use attachments made in 2012.  Great value!  Now, I want the ice cream attachment!

My next major purchase will be a kitchen island.  Saw one I liked at Penney's for $375, but looking online I can see the same one for as low as $229.  This will be the next big purchase after the first of the year.

And, my knife set?  I LOVE IT.  It is a little amazing to actually be able to cut an onion!