Finances 101 – Part 4: Spending to Save

Up to this point, everything has been focused directly on reducing spending and saving money. In this article, we’ll look at things from the other side and explore how spending money can save money.


Are you cooking and eating at home more? Great! One of the best ways to keep this going is to making cooking more enjoyable. That generally comes in the form of some quality tools like a great knife set, cookware, and maybe even an appliance or two.


Knives are expensive. But, if you use them properly and care for them, one set should be all you would ever need to buy over the course of your life. If you aren’t up for spending a few hundred dollars on a matched set, maybe get just one knife that you can use for a lot of things. A Santoku knife is extremely useful for many tasks including chopping, dicing, slicing, etc. A good one is like to run you over a hundred dollars, but know that it’s built to last a very long time.

Learn how to use it, how to clean it (which includes hand-washing only and drying right away), and honing it. And, know the difference between honing and sharpening and when it’s time to take the knife to a professional to be sharpened.


High quality pots and pans will heat evenly, hold temperature, be able to go into the oven for certain tasks, and may also be high quality non-stick. They should also be used properly, cleaned properly, and stored to keep them in excellent condition. If you opt for a set of non-stick, plan to spend a fair amount of money and look for ones that have the non-stick aspect integrated directly into the metals of the pans and NOT in the form of a coating. Coatings don’t hold up and you’ll be throwing the pans away once they start to show scuffs and scratches.

Scanpan makes some very nice cookware that meets the above criteria, but a complete set is hundreds of dollars and has to be taken care of. Our set makes cooking much more simple overall, especially the cleanup part. But, your biggest ally in cleaning cookware is to get to it before it completely cools. If you’re able to wash it while it still retains a small amount of heat from cooking, things generally come off more easily.


Things like a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, and even a coffee maker are excellent appliances to invest in as they will help you save money. A coffee maker is able to produce coffee for under $.10/cup while your favorite “pod”-based coffee maker is at least five times that per cup. Even a basic, no-frills drip coffee maker for $30 or less will make very good coffee.

Slow cookers and electric pressure cookers are very versatile and can make cooking simpler and offer you variety in how you work in the kitchen. Use liners in the slow cooker and invest in the liquid form of Bar Keeper’s Friend for thoroughly cleaning ANY stainless steel cookware like that pot portion of an electric pressure cooker.

What Else?

When you look around your house, and realize that you’re able to save money by investing tools to do the work at home, what else do you see? Are there other things that you are focused on doing at home / doing for yourself where having a high-quality tool to use will genuinely help you stick to doing those things for the long-term? If so, then these are areas where spending money may benefit you.

Beware the expensive single-tasker! Don’t buy things that do only one thing and seldom get used. You don’t need a garlic press – dice it. It’s wasted money on something that seldom gets used and takes up drawer space. Make sure you that you are spending money on things that will A) last and B) bring benefit either every single day or across multiple tasks (or both).

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  1. Benjamin Bryan

    This is a great point that’s often overlooked, Mark. You’re right that a great way to save more in the long-run is to invest in things that will save us money, time, or make our lives better over the long-run. One of my best recent purchases was a mechanics toolset and OBDII reader. I’m much much of a mechanic, but I did some maintenance to our cars in less time than it would have taken me to drop the car off at the shop …and it’s already paid for the price of the tools.

    1. Post

      That’s a great example, Ben. Your purchase cost a certain amount of money but paid you back through money you didn’t spend elsewhere. Given that you ended up right away saving more than you spent, and you have the opportunity to save even more in the future, that’s a High Value Purchase.

      If you shop by value and not price, you can see what items will “pay you back” by buying them and what items will not. Value could be in the form of buying your very first set of cookware so that you don’t have to eat out a lot or live off of frozen meals (making your meals healthier and cheaper over time). It could be in the form of spending twice as much on a few dress shirts than you normally would, but those shirts lasting three times as long as the ones you might normally buy. Sometimes, it’s easy to see value (like the first example) and sometimes you have to take a chance (like the second example) when you don’t know for sure. But, if you’re focused on the value of what you get for your money, you’ll do well in the long run.

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