Save or splurge: The kitchen

To get the most for your money, you need to know two things: when the good stuff is worth paying extra for and when the economy choice is plenty good enough.

All-Clad stainless seven-piece set (only at Macy 's) | $419
Pots and Pans
All-Clad stainless seven-piece set (only at Macy 's) | $419
Save or spend: Spend
A good set should last a lifetime, at least. To get this kind of quality, look for materials like 18/10 stainless steel (with or without copper core) or enameled cast iron.

These are durable, they're good at conducting heat, and they clean up well, which in combination can't be said of the alternatives. (All-copper is more expensive but hard to clean; aluminum is cheaper but less sturdy.)

You'll spend a lot on this type of cookware - $300-plus for a set - but you shouldn't ever pay full price. Department stores have sales of 10 percent to 50 percent off, with the best often around the holidays.

And you really need only a few pieces, like the sauté pan, stockpot, saucepan, frying pan and lids that come in this All-Clad set.

Refrigerator

Microwave

Pepper Mill

Knives

Cabinets

Disposal

Processor

Pots and pans
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.