Those cheap aluminum pots and pans may look like a great deal, but chances are you'll spend more time scouring them than they're worth. Instead, go for quality cookware that is reliable and easy to clean. You'll save money on scorched food and dishwashing liquid. The same goes for knives and many small appliances. Before you buy an item, like a crock-pot, mixer or griddle, determine how hard the appliance or tool is going to be to maintain. If you get stuck with a poorly designed gadget that's hard or impossible to clean, you'll end up wasting time and money. Consumer Reports and other consumer publications and sites offer product comparisons that will help you make an informed decision.