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There are some things worth spending a fortune on, and there are some things you can opt to save a few bucks…or more than just a few.

Knowing the difference between those two instances is the key to maximizing the longevity of the products you purchase and saving money in the long run. 

Everyone knows that there are a lot of situations in which investing more money up front than maybe you would prefer to pays off dividends in the long run, in terms of product quality you reap in return.

However, there is a flipside to this. Sometimes, you can risk spending more money up front than you have to…and never reaping the rewards. This is true in cases wherein the budget products and high-end products are more similar than not.

You may or may not be surprised at the number of appliances that do not feature a wide variety of features or improved performance between price points.

Even for appliances for which this is not true, it’s still good to know which features are worth paying for and which may be worth passing on.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers tend to follow the golden rule: you pay for quality. Of course, you do not necessarily need to break the bank for professional kitchen appliances.

If you are thinking about the cost of a dishwasher, also consider the amount of water it uses and your water bill on a regular basis. Some people can handle the extra gallons that are tacked on with the addition of a dishwasher. The same goes for the amount of energy the dishwasher uses.

But your best bet is to opt for an energy-efficient dishwasher with efficient water usage. Most certified energy efficient dishwashers will incorporate both of these benefits pretty explicitly in their marketing, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one!

Newer models boast self-cleaning features which clear the dishwasher’s filter without any intervention on your behalf. Never having to touch gross, wet food scraps again? Sign me up.

Coffee Appliances

When it comes to coffee, some people are fine with the burnt taste of stale grounds each morning. But you can do better, even with just tiny upgrades.

Incremental changes to your coffee routine can make a BIG difference. For example, coffee bean grinders can change the coffee a drip coffee machine produces drastically—all without changing anything else about the machine or the process with which you brew coffee.

If you are really into convenience, you can opt for a machine that grinds AND brews the coffee at a predetermined time. Imagine: freshly brewed coffee, made from freshly ground beans—and you don’t even think about it!

Some machines even offer plumbing lines that connect easily to your kitchen’s pipes. Say goodbye to filling up your tank!

Of course, for the average coffee drinker, these may seem like extravagant accessories.

But still, a little goes a long way when it comes to adding conveniences into your coffee routine. Good coffee does take some effort. However, plenty of mid-budget machines on the market offer solutions to make your efforts redundant. Score!

You Shouldn’t Splurge On…

Blenders

Unless you are cranking out hot blended soups and nut butters every other day, you do not need to break the bank buying a blender.

I recommend a food processor for your heavy-duty needs. A food processor will make quick work of hard particles to be blended.

That said, if you are not blending hard particles, you might want to look into an immersion blender. An immersion blender at a super affordable price point will be able to blend soups and shakes without issue.

Cheap immersion blenders might not be robust enough to stand the test of hard nuts or other harder particles like a food processor is equipped to do. On the other hand, food processors are bulkier than immersion blenders for the most part.

An immersion blender fits in your drawer, while a food processor requires a game of Tetris every time you go to hide it away in the depths of my cabinetry.

Microwaves

When it comes to microwaves, they all function essentially the same. In fact, there is so little variation in function between models that all budget options are basically the same. But higher-end options aren’t better off: as it turns out, they offer features you probably don’t need.

The basic mechanics that go into “heating” food with a microwave won’t vary between model to model. They are all made with the same components and all tend to last around a decade, regardless of price point, before some sort of reparative maintenance is needed.

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