Buying for a Lifetime

One of the main tasks of penny pinching is not only finding ways of not spending money, but also knowing where to spend money. Where can you get the most for the least.

One of my discoveries this summer was cast iron. It is cheap, it lasts forever, and it actually cooks better than more expensive pans.

Before buying, it is important to keep in mind that you can buy cast iron that is seasoned and you can buy cast iron that has yet to be seasoned. The pre-seasoned cast iron tends to be black and the cast iron that has to be seasoned is grey in color. Examples of seasoned cast iron is Lodge Cast Iron. Pre-seasoned cast iron costs twice or three times as much as the cheaper cast iron that you have to season yourself. The Penny Pincher recommends seasoning cast iron yourself: it takes an hour and involves coating the cast iron pan with vegetable oil or vegetable shortening and then cooking it in the oven for an hour or so. It is a bit of work for the money you save.

I bought my cast iron skillet for twenty-some dollars and I used it when camping and I now use it at home. It was cheap and it is environmentally friendly. It not only cooks better, but it is also easier to clean than the so-called non-stick Teflon pans.

The best is that cast iron truly lasts a lifetime. The worst that can happen is that it will rust. Then, you just sand out the rust and reseason the pan. It will last your lifetime and that of your children and quite likely their children as well.

Choosing cast iron is truly an easy way to be frugal.

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4 Responses to Buying for a Lifetime

  1. Joanne says:

    Interesting article. I will definitely keep a look out for cast iron! If I find it at a thrift store or garage sale, all the better!

  2. thepennypincher says:

    When you are out at garage sales and thrift stores, don’t worry about rust, but you should avoid cast iron that is cracked or warped. This is a great site that explains how to clean and season cast iron: http://www.panman.com/cleaning.html.

  3. angunc3 says:

    Cast iron is cool, too because when you cook with this metal it actually adds iron to your diet. No need to buy expensive supplements. I’ll try to find the articles that reference the studies on cast iron cookware.

  4. thepennypincher says:

    Thank you, that would be great. Also, it seems that Teflon releases some chemicals into the air (and of course the food) that allegedly were a health threat. Given the health benefits of cast iron and the potential health risks of Teflon, in this case I would say that the benefits of cast iron certainly outweigh the disadvantages.

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