When we think of great food, usually it’s the mouth-watering dishes we remember rather than the awesome cooking utensils used to prepare them. While gourmet cooking is something many aspire to, it can quickly become expensive to stock a kitchen with the quality tools needed to prepare some intricate dishes. Here are some tips to equip your kitchen and take your cooking and baking to the next level:

Buy used. Look for gently used equipment online, at resale shops, and at consignment stores. Often you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for and it may not even be used, because someone has received it as a gift and found no need to open the package.

Speaking of gifts, if someone asks you what you want for a special occasion let them know what you need for your kitchen plans. This can be a great way to get that springform pan set you’ve been drooling over!

Look for sales and discounts. Sites such as Groupon have thousands of merchants who offer deep discounts on cooking, baking, and other kitchen items, so download the app and start searching!

Ask your family members. Often an aunt, grandparent, or other relative will have tons of kitchen equipment they no longer use, and they’ll be delighted to know it’s staying in the family.

Set up a savings plan to buy new items. Set aside a certain amount of money every week or month, and earmark it for that special set of pans you really need to complete your baking supplies.

Join groups and forums that focus on cooking. Often you’ll find bartering, buying, and freebies that other members are offering, and you might be able to trade something you don’t use for something you’d really appreciate.

The main thing to remember is to think outside the box. Just because a gourmet tool is expensive doesn’t mean it’s unattainable; it just means you have to think a bit harder about how you’re going to get it! Before you know it, you’ll be braising with the best. Isn’t that the perfect ending to a great meal?

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