Money Saving Challenge: Clean it or Buy New?!?

money saving challenge, saving money, money tips

There’s a challenge going on within the Kernin household, and I want to let all of you Clever friends in on it, and get your thoughts as to who’s going to win. If I win, it would mean we don’t have to shell out close to $150 to replace a small kitchen appliance that we use literally every day.   But it’s going to take a little time and elbow grease to make it happen.

We own a jet stream oven, which is a small appliance that looks sort of like a food dehydrator. It works by blowing hot air really fast at food. We use it to cook pretty much anything that would normally be deep fat fried, and a lot of things that usually go in the oven such as French fries, corn dogs, reheated pizza, chicken nuggets and even bread sticks. All of these things can be made in the jet stream faster than your oven can preheat (about 6 -8 minutes), and with no lingering smell of grease that you’d have with a deep fat fryer.

We love this thing so much, that we’re actually on our third one over the course of the last 15 years. The thing is, I think of it much like my oven or my grill in that I don’t scrub it down and clean it out every time I use it. When you use it the interior temperature is 400 degrees so it kills any lingering germs, so I don’t think much about it. But, as with your oven or grill, over time grease and food particles build up and it needs a good cleaning.

clean it or buy new

One time I waited so long to do so, that some of the grease actually got into the fan and it started on fire. Unfortunately, I’ve waited long enough between cleanings of our current unit that my wife is afraid that scenario is about to repeat itself.

Which leads me to our challenge.

I told my wife that with a little dedicated time and some steel wool cleaning pads I can get the jet stream looking shiny again. She runs her hands along the interior of the lid, feels the grease build up, and laughs at me. She wants to buy a new one, at a cost of about $150, but I want to clean our existing one which otherwise is working fine.

Here’s the rules of our challenge:

  • I have until Friday to clean it. If I wait any longer, we’re buying a new one.
  • I can’t spend more than $10 in cleaning supplies
  • SHE is the judge as to whether it is clean enough to continue using

The picture above is our actual jet stream oven in its current state. What do you think, can I get it clean enough to satisfy my wife and save $150? Or will I be surfing the internet in Friday night looking for the best deal on a new jet stream oven?

This is going to be fun, and I’ll announce the outcome of the challenge in Friday’s “Clever Posts Of the Week!”

Have you ever thrown something away just because you thought it was too hard to clean?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • This is fascinating to me. I almost have to say that if your wife thinks you should spend the money on a new one, to just do it, since she is most often portrayed in this blog as the serious money-saver. However I LOVE a good challenge – especially a cleaning challenge. Go team Brock!
    p.s. I think if your scrubbing wins the challenge, you should get half of the cost of a new one to spend however you choose.

  • Also – the small appliance in our home that is overused and undercleaned is the toaster oven. We use it several times a day, and we’ve gone through about 4 of them in the last 8 years. We also had a contained fire. We were very likely named “that family” in our old neighborhood the night that my husband tossed the toaster oven out the front door, fully engulfed.

    Seriously you will win this bet. My husband just “made new” multiple things I was shocked about.

  • Way to bring on the challenge. I think the most important part is that you’ve given yourself a deadline. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

  • @Cathie – I’m actually shocked that she wants to chuck the old one just because it’s dirty (although her being concerned that it’s a safety hazard is probably a more accurate statement). The thing is, my wife is awesome about finding deals for saving money upfront, but on the back end, it’s me that keeps things running as long as possible. Looks like I may need to feature ME in my posts more often. LOL. Getting half the cost to spend however I choose? Ooooh, sounds good to me! Of course I’d use it to buy something nice for her anyway…… 🙂

  • @Cathie – I’m so glad you came back with another comment about your toaster oven…..I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time, but the thought of a flaming toaster oven flying out the front door of a house makes me laugh a little bit. Ok, a lot a bit!

  • @James – yeah, the deadline was her idea….it reminded me of that saying I see on facebook occasionally – “If a man says he’s going to do something, he will. There’s no need to bug him every 6 months about it.” 🙂

  • Haha is it weird if I like scrubbing stuff like this? Having an old item looks like brand new is one of my favorite things 😀 Nevertheless, since you said you’re on the 3rd one over the course of 15 years and the new on costs only $150, I don’t think it’s bad investment, especially since you use it that often, sooo I don’t know which team to choose.

  • I have never seen one of those cookers before. I will have to check it out. If it was me I would wipe it out as best I could and then put some water in it and lemon juice and run it to help loosed up the grease. I don’t know enough about it to know if that is possible. Good luck.

  • @Daisy – I agree regarding the grates and the bottom part…but wowsers is the grease caked on the upper ring! We’ll see what I can do though!

  • @PoorStudent – we definitely get our money’s worth for these things….but I don’t like scrubbing it at all. You’re welcome to come on over if you’d like to give it a shot! LOL Thanks for commenting!

  • @May – it’s worth a shot….that grease is stuck on their good. Although if it’s stuck that hard, it’s difficult to think it would fly off into the fan and start a fire too. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Thoughts!

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