Minimalist Kitchen Essentials on a Budget

November 19, 2018



Back when I was on a tight budget, it really bugged me when bloggers would list their essential items and the prices were totally out of reach. How can you shell out a few hundred dollars for one item when it’s almost half your paycheck?

When I posted my minimalist kitchen essentials a while back, I realized that I’d become that blogger and so I quickly started working on this post. All the items are from Target since it’s an affordable big box store with locations all over the US.

Pots and Pans
Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Steamer ($35.00)
Stainless Steel Sauce Pan ($20.00)
Cast Iron Skillet 10.25” ($14.95)
Non-Stick Skillet 8” ($29.99)
Oven Mitts ($5.00)

If you’re going to drop any real dough, then it will likely be on pots and pans. These four basics will allow you to cook your way through all types of recipes.

Stainless steel conducts heat well and will last you for ages. I’ve had my set since college! The stock pot is the work-horse that you can use to to make soups, stews, braises, pasta, and steaming.

Don’t skip that non-stick skillet. It is essential for cooking eggs and is super easy to clean. Plus, we all know eggs are the best food to eat when you are on a budget, right?

Cooking Utensils
Wooden Spoon ($4.00)
Silicone Spatula ($5.00)
Tongs ($3.00)
Whisk ($5.00)
Silicone Ladle ($5.00)
Potato Masher ($6.00)
Steel Strainer ($5.00)
Colander  ($8.00)

Now we see those prices drop, phew! Most of these tools are functional and straightforward. Watch some chef shows if you want to learn some new and creative ways you can use tongs and steel strainers.

By the way, that colander is for more than making pasta! Use it to wash lettuce or cool down steamed veggies. You can also keep it on the countertop and fill it with fruit.

Cooking Gadgets
Can Opener ($7.00)
Citrus Juicer ($3.99)
Vegetable Peeler ($5.00)
Grater ($6.00)

Going with the basics in the cooking gadgets category will help keep your costs low. If you are going to save up for something fancy, I’d suggest a small food processor over a fancy blender or slow cooker like a Crock Pot or Instant Pot.

Glass Baking Dishes ($15.00)
Baking Sheets ($11.00)
Cooling Grid ($9.00)
Silicone Spatula ($5.00)

Mixing and Measuring
Glass Mixing Bowls ($13.00)
Metal Measuring Cups ($7.00)
Metal Measuring Spoons ($5.00)

Whenever possible, I recommend glass and metal tools. However, if you want to save money, you could swap these items for a plastic mixing bowl set ($8.00) and plastic measuring cups and spoons ($5.00).

Knives and Such
Chef’s Knife ($14.99)
Paring Knife ($7.99)
Knife Sharpener ($12.99)
Kitchen Scissors ($8.00)
Cutting Boards in Various Sizes ($9.99)

Lots of people think that you need to spend a small fortune on knives, but any knife is useless if it is dull. Save your money by investing your time in learning how to sharpen a knife and doing so regularly (weekly if you can!).

That’s it! Thirty or so kitchen essentials that comes out to $286.89 without tax. Purchase it all in one go or spread it over a few paychecks so you don’t break the bank.

It’s worth noting that you can build a minimalist kitchen for even less by hunting down items at thrifts stores, scouring garage sales, searching on Craigslist, or begging friends and family for cast-offs. If you go this route, my only suggestion is to buy a brand new nonstick skillet so you avoid any weird teflon situations.

P.S. The original post including my minimalist kitchen essentials and some entertaining essentials that may interest you.