6 practical ways to splurge

Blend on a budget

There's been lots of fuss surrounding high-performance blenders, but could any kitchen appliance be worth both the price tag and the hype? In a word — yes. Also, yum.

High-performance blenders feature powerful motors that produce incredibly fast blade speeds. To give you an idea of the power behind these machines, the blade speeds combined with your basic ingredients can create enough friction to produce hot soup in mere minutes.

The Oster Versa High Performance Blender ($249.99, Walmart) is half as expensive as some other top-of-the-line high-performance blenders, with nearly identical capabilities.

Tired of shelling out upwards of $10 for your morning green smoothie? Toss some spinach, kale, fruit and ice into the Versa, and in seconds you’ll have a similar if not superior treat. You can also make sorbet in seconds using basic ingredients like milk, sugar and frozen fruit.

Two cons: This type of blender is incredibly noisy (think tiny jet engine), and the unit isn’t dishwasher safe. Despite that, cleanup is a breeze. Squirt dishwashing liquid into the unit, fill halfway with water, pulse once or twice and then rinse.