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Everyday Cheapskate: Money-saving for the kitchen

I’m crazy about gadgets — everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I’m in heaven — the more blades and utensils, the better.

My favorite gadgets are ones that help me save money. Now and then I strike on a gadget that is so magnificent in its functionality and money-saving properties, I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Today, I want to tell you about three gadgets for the kitchen that I consider to be wise investments. All three are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in immediate grocery savings and will then go on to keep your food costs way down. And that’s saying a lot, given the way the price of food seems to be skyrocketing.

Vacuum sealer. I’ve depended on FoodSaver vacuum sealer in my kitchen for so many years, I cannot imagine getting along without it. Recently, I got to test drive the new FoodSaver V3835 Vacuum Food Sealer with SmartSeal Technology in my son’s kitchen, and all I can say is Wow! At under $175, this is one fantastic piece of kitchen equipment.

A vacuum sealer, when used diligently, will extend the shelf life of every type of food imaginable. That means your garbage disposal and trash can will stop being the best-fed members of your household.

Juicer. I am more convinced than ever that healthy eating is the most cost effective thing we can do to reduce healthcare costs. That’s why every household needs a reliable, affordable juicer — one that can handle raw carrots and other dense fruits and vegetables. And it needs to be easy to clean. My recommendation for the best inexpensive juicer out there is the new Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor. Every Breville product I have tested has come out with high marks, and this juicer is no exception. At under $100, I just don’t think you can beat it for functionality and reliability.

Dehydrator. No one was more surprised than I by what a terrific money saver a dehydrator can be. Of course, you have to actually use it. But when you do, you’ll be quite amazed. The cost of dehydrating your own food is a fraction of the cost of commercially dehydrated foods and with no additives or preservatives. If dehydrating is something you’ll actually do, consider EC’s best inexpensive choice, Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator. Bargain-priced at about $35, it is compact, has a see-through cover so you can gauge what’s going on, drying trays that are dishwasher safe, and it is small enough for easy storage. I love this gadget, and I think you will, too.

Mary Hunt is founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website.

You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

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