I consider myself a bargain hunter. To me, this is someone who researches the things they intend to purchase to find the best quality item for the least amount of money. Over the years I have researched basically every household item and wanted to share my findings with you.
For the Kitchen...
I think simple white porcelain dishes are the way to go with everyday dinnerware. Anyone I know who has purchased coloured or patterned dishes has hated them after a few years when their tastes change. White dishes look great, are widely available and go with everything. The best place to get simple white everyday dishes is Walmart. You can get a set of 16 pieces (4 dinner plates, 4 side plates, 4 bowls and 4 mugs) for $9.99 i.e., service for 8 people for under $20.
I would also suggest Walmart for your basic white serving platters. You can get both small and large sizes for $6.99 and $9.99. Again, under $20 for 2 sizes if everyday serving platters.
If you are like me and like to entertain, you probably also like to serve things on more unique dishes (versus basic serving platters) e.g., olive trays or 3-sectioned bowls (shown above).
The beauty of having white everyday dishes is that you can get matching serving dishes from anywhere. I have found that the best place to get unique serving dishes is JYSK. You can get a variety of white porcelain dishes (including ones similar to the pictures above) for between $4-10 and on sale they go as low as $2-$8.
If you like colour or pattern, introduce it in small and inexpensive ways e.g., bowls. The best place to find colourful or patterned bowls is IKEA. You can get a variety of patterns and colours for anywhere between $1-6 e.g., the above bowls are $1.75 a piece.
For flatware, I suggest spending a little more for good quality stainless steel i.e. 18/10 gauge stainless steel. The higher the nickel content in your flatware (in this case 10% nickel) the more protection the flatware has from corrosion. The best place to buy 18/10 gauge stainless steel flatware is Loblaws. The President's Choice flatware is currently available in two different styles (one style similar to the picture above) and you can buy it open stock which means you only buy what you need. Each package contains 3-4 utensils and is reasonably priced at $5 i.e., service for 4 persons for $25.
Next- Part 2- Living Room