Five Tips for Equipping Your Real Food Kitchen on a Budget

If you’re at all like me, when you first discovered traditional, nourishing foods, you realized how ill-equipped your kitchen was in helping you prepare these foods!

You don’t have to have all sorts of helpful gadgets in your kitchen, but they really are a timesaver.  That seems to be especially important while on the GAPS diet, which can be even more time-intensive than a the WAPF diet.

It’s taken me a while to convert and add to my kitchen appliances over the years without breaking the bank, but I’ve found some especially helpful resources that I would like to share with you today.  I hope this helps you get your kitchen fitted out with some wonderful tools!

My craigslist finds

1.  Craigslist
It’s truly amazing how many brand-new or almost-new kitchen gadgets you can find on craigslist.  It seems that people either think they’re going to use a certain item or they receive one as a gift, and it becomes clear after a while that it just sits in their cupboard.  This is when you can come to the rescue!

One of my first kitchen finds on craigslist was more jars.  Now, I know the name of my blog is Too Many Jars, but let’s be honest, you can never have too many in a real food kitchen, especially when you break a few now and again!

A find from last fall was a Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer.  This came in so handy during apple season!  It made short work of slicing apples and I was able to dry lots of them and use the slices in cooking.

When my old food processor needed another part replaced that was no longer made, I decided it was time for a new one.  I eventually found a brand-new, in-the-box Cuisinart for about half of its retail value.  I love this thing and I’m sure it’s going to last for years to come!

Juicing is an important part of GAPS, not to mention just a healthy thing to do in general, and I was getting tired of the extremely small opening on my old juicer.  I felt fortunate to find a Jack LaLanne Juicer, with a nice wide opening, that had rarely been used for a great price.  Such a deal!

The challenge with Craigslist is that it can be hard to find an item that’s in good condition for a good price when you’re just jumping on and checking once in a while.  There’s a great free service that I like to use called  You can set it up so that it will email you when there is a match for a specific search that you create through Craigslist.  This has helped me find most of the items I’ve purchased on Craigslist.

Love my refurbished dehydrator!

2.  Refurbished Items
Sometimes when looking to purchase an expensive item, it can be helpful to go directly to the manufacturer’s website to see if they offer any refurbished items for a good price.

I actually have the most experience doing this with computers, but about a year ago I wanted to purchase an Excalibur dehydrator.  Those come with a pretty hefty price tag, but I knew it would get a lot of use.  I was looking at various companies that sell them when I thought I should see if I could buy it directly from Excalibur.

I discovered that they had a refurbished model available on the last page of their dehydrator listings.  I saved about $100 and got a 10-year warranty with it!  It really helped make the purchase more affordable and it’s been working well for the past year.

A few helpful items from the local thrift store.

3.  Thrift Stores
Thrifting kitchen equipment can be rather hit and miss, and  you definitely have to be willing to dig through piles of junk to find something worthwhile!

I haven’t had much success with finding large kitchen equipment, but it has helped with a few odds and ends.  I was able to replace a few of my plastic utensils for metal ones, add a few more ramekins to my collection, and get a new broiling rack for my oven.  My sister-in-law actually found her bread maker at a thrift store.

For me, it hasn’t made a huge dent in my necessary purchases, but it has helped a bit.  And I like to go thrifting from time to time for a variety of items, so I may as well take a peek in the kitchen section!

Purchased with coupons and on sale!

4.  Store Sales and Coupons
Sometimes there are items you would really like to get, but you haven’t had any luck with the methods mentioned above.  This is when it comes in handy to know which of your local stores hold large sales and to keep track of coupons that come in the mail.

Our local hardware/home store, McGuckin, holds a very large tent sale twice a year.  They have all sorts of deeply discounted items under a very large tent for the weekend.  Plus, the entire store is 10% off during the tent sale.  This year I waited until the sale to replace my toaster oven and was able to use that 10% discount.  I was also able to grab several new glass baking dishes and some other kitchen odds and ends.

Store coupons are very helpful, too.  Bed, Bath, & Beyond is always sending out those 20% off one item coupons.  I hold on to it in case we have a purchase we need or want to make at some point.  I used that when I got my ice cream maker for Christmas this past year.


5.  Friends & Family
Your friends and family can also be a helpful source for stocking your kitchen.  Sometimes they have items they no longer use and are willing to give them to you in order to clear out a bit of space.

I have a set of glass mixing bowls that belonged to my grandmother.  I love that these were ones she used regularly and that now I get to use them in my own kitchen.  For the first 10 or 11 years of my marriage, I used my mom’s old food processor.  It worked great, and was such a help early on to not have to purchase our own.  Just recently I was telling a friend of mine that I really wanted to get a cast iron pan.  It turns out that she had an extra one that she didn’t really use, and she gave it to me.  (Thanks, Rachel!)

Birthdays and special occasions are also great ways to equip your kitchen.  While they may not be the most romantic gifts to receive from your spouse, for me they have meant a lot!  We’ve often combined the tips above with a special occasion in order to add an item to my supply.  Who says a dehydrator can’t be an awesome anniversary gift?!

Your Turn
I hope you find these tips helpful as you change over your cooking equipment to better fit your real-food needs.  It can take a while to get all of the items you’d love to have.  Please share what strategies you use when equipping your own kitchen.  I still have a few items on my list that I’d like to find…

This post is part of Simple Lives ThursdayPennywise Platter Thursday, Keep It Real Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Freaky Friday, GAPS Friendly Fridays, Monday Mania, Fat TuesdayReal Food Wednesday.


  1. Meghan says:

    These are great tips! And thanks for sharing about I hadn’t heard of that before. I haven’t had much success with Craigslist in the past but it sounds like using something like that would make the searching process a lot easier.

    • Mindy says:

      You’ll have to let me know if you have more success with Craigslist using It certainly has made it a lot easier for me!

    • Brandis says:

      Ditto! At least once a week I have had the thought that I wish I had something to monitor Craigslist for me, because there are so many thing I am always looking for, but I never remember to check daily. I’ll definitely be trying this out!

  2. Definitely going to use ifttt! Also, is a super easy way of browsing Craigslist directly. God bless!

    • Mindy says:

      You’ll have to let me know what you think of ifttt! Thanks for the tip about I haven’t heard of it, but I’ll definitely go take a look!

  3. Alexandra says:

    I like to wait for Macy’s One Day sales when buying new kitchen appliances and cookware. They always have deeply discounted early bird specials, like my food processor for close to 50% off and $40 off the stainless steal Jack Lalanne Juicer.

    • Mindy says:

      That’s a great idea about the Macy’s sale. I’ll have to pay attention to when those are taking place!

  4. dee m says:

    Thank you soooo much for sharing! Neither my hubby or I knew of Will be doing more searching now without frustrations on Craigslist.
    I will throw in the word “patience” too. hah I had searched on Craigslist and ebay for a “Atlas Pasta Noodle Machine”.. ebay is a terrific site to stock ones kitchen as well, I mentioned patience as there are so many prices and deals, I always set a quota I don’t want to go over and search, bid, search. I landed one this last fall, in the box, though the box was worn, the machine is in perfect condition. I am making noodles, ravioli’s, lasagne noodles, etc.

    Another site for items in need or wants .. most towns or counties through the states have a freecycle site. Someone may have an item collecting dust on a shelf and they are tickled to know someone is putting it to good use. :)

    • Mindy says:

      Very good point about patience, Dee. Even using, it took me a while to find my juicer at a price I was willing to pay. I forget about using eBay. Thanks for the reminder, and great point of setting a limit first. It can be easy to keep raising your bid!

      I have to admit I lost my patience for freecycle a while back. There were so many emails each day, but if you waited for the daily digest, everything you might want is already gone. Anyone else with that experience? Or is it because I live in a college town?!

  5. Kelly says:

    Great tips! We’ve also had a lot of great finds at garage sales – a grand majority of our house furniture and lots of kitchen stuff has been found for great deals!

  6. Katie says:

    Thanks for the ifttt tip!
    I go to Estate Sales for just about everything. I am so fed up with buying new and spending (wasting) time doing a bunch of research to buy something, then a year later it’s no good.
    I’ve probably been through half a dozen blenders or more in the last 5 years. Just makes me so angry! I finally invested in a Blendtec (much like Vitamix) and it has held up for a year now… and we use it every day.
    Anyway! is a great source for local estate sales. We typically don’t even bother wasting time at garage sales anymore. Just go to estate sales when we need something. They’re all year round and even sometimes during the week.
    Remember EVERYTHING is negotiable!!! :)

    • Mindy says:

      I’ve heard about estate sales, but never been. Thanks for the tip about finding them. I’m not usually willing to go to a bunch of garage sales, but that sounds like a much better option!

  7. karen says:

    don’t forget about Black Friday! I scored TWO different sets (at different stores) of Pyrex storage – a 16 piece and a 20 piece. Each was $20, and they were retailed for $70-$80! It was WELL worth the lost night of sleep.

    • Mindy says:

      You are so much braver than me! I just can’t stand the thought of facing all the crowds on Black Friday. What a great deal you got, though!


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