When Doing The Right Thing is Cost Prohibitive

by Katy on December 11, 2010 · 65 comments

As The Non-Consumer Advocate, I wholly believe in buying used instead of new; puttering around instead of shopping and fixing instead of replacing. And when my $15 Craigslist microwave went kaput last month, (it was making Mordor-like sparks and flashes) I was totally fine with melting butter on the stovetop and reheating leftovers in the oven. It was not a big deal and I enjoyed the addition of the extra kitchen counter space.

But then my Japanese host son asked if I could please buy a microwave oven. I can’t think of anything else he’s asked for, so I told him I would buy one. So I started to peruse the Craigslist ads and unsuccessfully even replied to a few $30 listings. My husband priced one at Costco that was around $90.

Then I called an appliance repair business to investigate getting our old microwave fixed. I was quoted $109 for labor, plus parts.

$109 plus parts when a brand new microwave oven is $90?! I am all about walking my talk of non-consumerism, but I simply cannot prioritize my ethics over financial responsibility. I’ve only been getting about half the number of RN shifts the last month or so, and money is tighter around here than a glass slipper on a step-sister’s foot. Sure, we have enough money to pay for all the basics, but I don’t want to have to dip into savings until it’s an official emergency. And honey, not having a microwave is hardly an emergency.

This started me thinking about some ways in which we spend more than we have to. We pay extra for clean energy electricity, we sponsor a Zambian girl through Child Fund International and we have opened up our home to a Japanese teaching assistant without any compensation.

I want to provide a living wage to the appliance repair person and I want to fix instead of replace, but I just can’t make myself do it. I will continue to spend out in a few key areas, but I have to pick and choose the ways in which I can afford to do so.

What would you do in my situation? Would you pay to repair the microwave, buy a new one or keep an eye out for a used one? Would you risk a possibly dangerous home repair? Do you walk your talk? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan December 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I had a situation like that when my washer broke 3 years ago and the repair man told me it would be cheaper to buy a new washer than to have it repaired. “Beyond Economic Repair” were the words he used…how crazy is that?

What did I do? I bought a new one. The last one was over 10 years old so I got a new version of the same model washer. Lets hope it lasts ten years like the last one.


Jennifer December 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Much to my chagrin, I just bought several new items–a fridge, a sleeper sofa, a DIY closet and 4 DIY dressers. The reason? Time was not on my side. I’m due to have a baby in 6 days and just a few weeks ago we got an offer to live in a guest cottage rent-free–incredibly lucky, yes, but a bit of a logistical nightmare to a hormonal nesting preggo! Coming from a furnished apartment, we had nothing of our own and when I looked around at Salvation Army, Goodwill & Freecycle, I couldn’t find any of the things I needed. (I did find a sleeper sofa in one Goodwill that was stained and smelled FUNKY and a closet in Salvation Army that was WAY overpriced and too small) We treat our belongings very well and I’m sure when we don’t need them anymore we can pass them on to others like we do with everything else. That is all any of us can try to do when money or time forces our hand to buy something–treat the new object(s) with care in hopes that it lasts as long as possible whether for our own use or for others. That’s what I’m telling myself anyways…


Kimberly December 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I feel that way every time I buy a brand new ink cartridge for the printer. Oh, sure, I refill them as long as possible, but there inevitably comes a day when they’re no longer usable. Then, as I stand in the store, noticing that a new printer is cheaper than a new ink cartridge, I wonder if it wouldn’t be smarter to just buy a new printer.

I read recently that electronic companies are building items of lesser quality so we’ll HAVE to replace them more often, therefore lining their pockets. I wish I could find that article again to link here, but sadly, I cannot.

I do my best to walk my talk, but like you, there’s the issue of financial responsibility and I can’t justify paying significantly more to repair an item than it would cost to replace.


Kari D. December 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

It’s “The Story Of Electronics”, and it made me THINK!!


namastemama December 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Just found that my new HP cartridges are XL, which is really just the same volume as the older regular version and the new regular version is really half the volume of ink and they are adding technology where you can not refill. So they didn’t make a larger version, just called it XL and charge more. Kind of like the ‘half the calories’ candy bar. They are just half the size of the regular.
Katy- whatever decision you make just be happy with in and go on. I’ve decided that I can’t beat myself up about every item that could be saved, reused, donated, sold. Sometimes I just don’t have the time, energy or resources and some things just end up in the trash. I think the ultimate idea would just me to do without. If you’re at least in your mid 30s you lived some portion of your life without one and many many generations before us did too.


Tiiu August 26, 2023 at 11:33 pm

HP is notorious for charging very little for printers and raking in later in cartridges. This enables them to throw in a “free printer” when you buy a computer, thus effectively locking you in with a printer for a good few years. And thereby forcing others out of the market. Suggestions from this are self-evident…


Lynda Britz August 26, 2023 at 5:02 pm

Please check the ink volume that comes with the printer. I found it’s less than the refill size.


Jupe B December 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Buy used whenever you possibly can. When you can’t don’t beat yourself up to buy new.

For the potentially dangerous home repair – know the limits on your own skills. I would never attempt a roof repair (super steep roof) but feel perfectly comfortable doing all aspects of electrical work.


Rachel December 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

It’s a delicate balance – doing what’s right, while also not being financially irresponsible. Realizing that the microwave you had was already (at least) secondhand, and you’ve looked into buying used, it makes sense for you to buy a new one over repairing an old one (and risking that it might break again, with another costly repair…)

All that to say, kudos for being willing to admit that you don’t/can’t always stick by non-consumerism. It takes a lot of guts to do so 🙂


Lee Ann L. December 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

It’s hard. We have to keep a balance and yet not get ourselves into debt. If it was me, I’d get a new microwave and feel guilty about it for days. But, I cannot see spending myself into debt. It’s the same with practically everything including cars! There comes a time when repairing a car becomes cost prohibitive.


Mary Ann December 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Sometimes with electronics, a newer model is more energy efficient than the old. So with that possibility, and the cost of fixing, I’d buy new.


Sharron December 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Sounds like you did everything possible to avoid a purchase. It’s hard to balance your own personal ethics with the needs of the family. I’d have a hard time saying no to my 17-year-old if she asked the same question. She’s pretty good about tolerating my wacky ways, but she doesn’t buy into the non-consumer lifestyle herself yet. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It was a great teachable and transparent moment. Thanks, Katie!


Shannon December 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

It’s so frustrating…they make stuff to break. I’m sure that anything could be engineered to last long and easily repaired, but for now that is not what industry gives us. The upside is at least the newer model is probably more energy efficient.


Jess December 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I got a perfectly good microwave at Goodwill for $20, so I’d go for the “look for a used one” route. My mom nearly always prefers to buy something new rather than get it repaired, even when a watch probably just needs a new battery. She claims it’s cheaper. It boggles me.


Sara December 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Whatever kind of microwave you get make sure its the safer kind thats not gonna give you all cancer. If you can find one used then great, but if not go with a new one thats really efficient and on sale. Good luck.


Mary C December 11, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Buy the new microwave and don’t feel guilty, you tried to buy used and looked into a repair, if buying new is cheaper than a repair ( a very sad commentary on the current state of our economy) than I would buy new and forgive yourself the breach of non-consumerism.


Otter December 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I’d go for some sort of eco-certified new microwave, like an EnergyStar model. Since microwaves are made to last awhile, I would think the savings on energy would outweigh the impact of the new materials used to make it, but that’s just a guess.

That’s assuming you really need that microwave, though. You’re already hosting this guy for free — if the rest of your family is doing fine without a microwave, that seems like a purchase he should handle himself.


Lisa P. December 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Sounds like you made the right move. I had my most recent microwave repaired – it’s one of those over the range models & miraculously the parts were still under warranty (plus I dreaded trying to find something that would “fit” the spot). On the other hand if it was a counter top model, I would have saved the glass plate (packrat that I am LOL) and then replaced the oven with a new one. I think there are some things that are fine to buy used but a microwave I’m not so sure – I’ve always had a fear of leaks. I think you did great ~ you made your guest happy and feel welcome/respected. Great call!


Lynda December 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Why do you even need a microwave? If you have to have one I’d wait and get a used one…


Annie Jones December 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Without a doubt, I’d look for a used one. They seem to be abundant at all of our area thrift stores and there were 18 listed on our local craigslist just today.


Practical Parsimony December 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I faced this same dilemma with an electric stove. Used appliances frighten me for two reasons.Why were they discarded? They could be dangerous. Will they need repair soon? Maybe I will end up spending money on a dangerous appliance. My electric stove was dangerous, a fire hazard. So, despite lots of criticism, I bought a new one.

Does the free boarder get to dictate what appliances you have? It seems he ought to buy the microwave if he really needs it and take it with him when he leaves. The gracious thing to do would be to leave it for you. If you feel dedicated to getting him one, why not just tell him you are looking for a used one and will get it then? That way, your conscience would be clear on buying used instead of new.


Katy December 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

I don’t consider him to be a “free boarder.” He works full time at the elementary school for free. In exchange he gets a bus pass and room and board.

My style of food prep is different from the majority of people, as almost everything is from scratch and very little is grab-and-go. If one does not know how to cook, it’s hard to snack.

It’s certainly different from how he grew up in almost every way.



Mama's Simple Life December 12, 2010 at 2:33 am

To be honest.. we’va got the same questions.. Sorry, I can’t help you on this one.
In our situation, we have no choice, we have no money left to spend, so our answer would be: not to buy or as cheap as possible. Maybe asking your friends or family?

thanks for sharing!


David December 12, 2010 at 3:51 am

Katy–let me take a different route than the other comments. For most folks, it shouldn’t be necessary to spend even $90 on a new microwave.

First, the overwhelming use for a microwave is in reheating. Also, most things heated in them aren’t all that large. Thus, it is usually quite possible to still find a simple, relatively small unit with a couple dials rather than all the fancy buttons for specific foods. I have seen those in the States for $35 to $60 or so at the outside.

Mid-sized units with the basics, even with electronic controls, are often on sale for the $50 to $60 range at any of the larger stores and even at places you may not think of at first such as a large chain drugstore.

You might also check on the various department store outlets–you may find one with a scratch on the side for half price or so.

Since you find you can get by without a microwave, that seems to indicate you aren’t doing much very elaborate with one–so why buy any sort of elaborate unit?

We use a fairly small one with two dials ourselves–one for power level, the other for time. It does all we ask of it–and when it is gone, we’ll likely get one like it as its replacement…for a lot less money than a fancier one filled with features we don’t use.


Mary Kay December 12, 2010 at 4:02 am

Since it’s a microwave oven I would not hesitate to buy new. I think it’s safer to have a seal from a factory when you are otherwise looking to buy/acquire from someone you don’t know. If a used microwve was not used properly the seal could be damaged and there could be leakage.


Snapper December 12, 2010 at 4:24 am

Freecycle? Ask everyone you know if they have a spare you could borrow short term? (not sure how long your guest is staying) Maybe someone is considering doing a microwave free period of time anyways? Check at any local college…(sadly these kids leave just about everything behind here in my neck of the woods.) Ask everyone you know in outlying areas to check at their re-sale shops for you? If nothing pans out then I think I’d opt for new unfortunately…(but a less than $90 one.) Tough call….good luck!
New to the blog and loving it! 🙂


Kayla K December 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I agree with this!
It is the end of the semester and the dumpster behind my college apartment complex is filling up. A little bit of dumpster diving would not be out of the question for me. 🙂


Kristia@Family Balance Sheet December 12, 2010 at 4:33 am

A few months ago, our vacuum stopped working. It was a canister vacuum and we never really like it much, but I took it to a repair shop and was told it would be $150 to repair. I ended up buying a $100 upright vacuum that I like much better. I did check craig’s list and didn’t like the few that were on there. They looked really old. I did feel bad when I had to put the old one out for trash pick-up, but I saw the trash guy put it in the front seat with him, so hopefully he knew how to fix it.


Linda December 12, 2010 at 5:28 am

Put the word out to everyone that you need a microwave. They may have one sitting around that is not being used. When my last microwave broke, my husband got a $30 during the holiday season. It was good but too small. I lived with it until I found one at a yard sale for $20. The perfect size. I have the smaller one in my basement, in case someone (or we) need it in the future. If I lived close you could have it but I live on the east coast.

Ask around. You may find one.


Trish December 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

I agree with practical parsimony, when it comes to used appliances I have to wonder why they were discarded. There are second hand stores that refurbish appliances before reselling, and I would consider buying from them. But that has to do with my level of comfort with risk. I would not attempt a potentially dangerous home repair. But when our 3yr old microwave started acting up, staying on when the door was open I did take off the cover to see if I could find anything I could fix (I didn’t and I took it to an electronics recycling event). I HATE the approach of “replacing if it is cheaper than fixing” in most instances. Like the old barn on my brother-in-law’s property, which has been in my husband’s family since the early 1800’s. That barn was built by some long dead relative, with rough hewn beams and wooden pegs instead of nails. A new pole barn was cheaper than fixing the old one, so it is slowly decaying.


NMPatricia December 12, 2010 at 6:04 am

Given events in the past few months for you, I am impressed you put something like this out for opinion. You are a brave woman. And I want to say that I hope you do what ultimately feels right for you and feel good about it regardless of opinion.

Along these lines of “do you walk your talk” but up a different tangent, I recently ended up buying a cutting mat at a chain fabric store for half the price at the local quilt store. And this is me who wants to support local merchants. However, I just can’t afford to at those prices. And I felt rather crummy about it too.


Kris December 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

You walk the talk 99% of the time AND blog about it (which in turn inspires non-compacters like me to try to find things used and consume fewer consumer goods). There will be times when for the sake of your sanity, your budget or your time, you will make a different choice than you might normally and that’s perfectly okay. At least you’re honest about it, you could have just not mentioned it in your blog and not had to deal with the criticism.


Linda H. December 12, 2010 at 7:35 am

I’m with those who say that if the rest of the family is fine without the nuker, then let the boarder buy it himself. It was pretty tacky for someone getting free room and board to tell you to buy an appliance you haven’t decided you actually need yet.


Melissa December 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

I would try to hold out for a Craig’s List find. I usually find that if I wait patiently I’ll find a great deal because some says something like, “I have to move today…must get rid of it now!”

When we moved into our current home we sold all our furniture to the person who bought our old place. This was a big blessing and saved us lots of money on the (long distance!) move but then we got here and had no furniture. We did great on Craig’s List and almost our whole home is furnished via Craig’s List and some things from friends and family but there were a couple of items that I couldn’t find used in decent condition for a good price and so we broke down and bought them new. While the items we bought new have been fine I still regret not holding out longer because I know eventually we could have found them used.


Rebecca December 12, 2010 at 9:43 am

First, if YOU and YOUR FAMILY want a microwave, then I say go to Target (or store of your choice) and get a new one. My first one from target lasted over 10 years for $52. The one we bought this year since ours finally died cost $62 and my goodness, it’s a powerful thing compared to our first one. It was simply more economical and practical to purchase new rather than used.

But given part of your story, in that your live-in student is the one who wants it, I’d be tempted to explain to him your economic priorities: you have fewer shifts at work, etc. and perhaps he could either a) do the legwork to find a new one at a more reasonable price than the COSTCO microwave or b) he can buy it himself and either take it with him or sell it back to you at a reasonable price.

I understand his point of view, but frankly, if he wants it and you are making do without at this time, then perhaps he needs to purchase it. In any case, it would certainly open the door to a discussion about the rampant consumerism in the world today.

Oh, and I do believe you are walking the walk. There’s only so much you can do used and green. Sometimes, it’s just simply practical to buy new or to invest a little into the future.

Good luck!


Mrs. B December 12, 2010 at 10:05 am

I just bought a new one at Target for $38.50. It is small and only 700 watts but works just fine for us. Costco also had one for 49.99 a bit bigger than the one I purchased but mine was fine.


Molly On Money December 12, 2010 at 11:13 am

This drives me crazy! When my washing machine was 25 months old it started needing maintenance. I remember calling the manufacturer and telling them I’d rather have spent more money on a machine that I knew would last me longer than 2 years. It’s not only the $, you have to get someone to come out. It’s inconvenient not having a washer and making time to meet the repair person. I was able to fix it (more like jerry-ridge it) but I was still fuming.


Harish December 12, 2010 at 11:23 am

This is what happens when you decide to go against the flow . When the entire society and the economy itself is being driven by consumerism its hard for an individual to adhere to his/her non-consumerist principles without having to incur the extra effort/cost . I would recommend you opt for the ‘middle path’ and just go and buy a used one without further stressing out yourself .


Lisa December 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

I would check out Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Humane Society shops, and even pawn shops to see if I could find a used one first. Then, and only then, would I consider buying a new one. Since repairs cost more than new ones, they hardly seem worth it. To assuage any guilt feelings, donate your old one to the repair guy. Maybe he can fix it and get a few bucks out of it.


Katy December 12, 2010 at 11:45 am

The host family coordinator is actually going to send out an e-mail on the listserve to see if anyone in the school community has an extra microwave we can use. I’m crossing my fingers on this plan, which I think is perfect.



Marianne December 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I think your right on this one!


Issa December 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I think it’s important to not pit one value against another and come to the conclusion that you’re a hypocrite. What makes sense in one situation isn’t exactly the same as what makes sense in another situation. Do I or you “walk our talk”? Sure. We just have more than one talk. It’s okay for non-consumer-ism to be a very important value. And for financial responsibility to be a very important value. And for honoring the comfort and wishes of your guests. Etc. Each particular situation might find one or the other or another on top of the list for the moment, and that’s completely okay.

Here is a post I like that touches on that topic – http://jackbootedliberal.com/2010/06/the-myth-of-ideological-consistency/ – my favorite quote comes at the end: “Would I like to live in a world where I could eat food that was raised totally without chemical pesticides and fertilizers? Absolutely. Am I willing to stop eating anything except that food, today? No. Does that make me a hypocrite? Or does it just mean that I value access to food as highly or more highly than I value pesticide- and fertilizer-free food. Read that sentence again: “I value access to food.” Well, shit. Who doesn’t, when you put it that way?”


Dmarie December 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I have a daily debate with myself over the same kinds of things! good for the wallet, good for the environment, good for my fellow human beings. best I can do is to continue to educate myself in these ethical issues…and hope for the day when companies make it easier to repair than replace!


Laura December 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I read an article years ago on how eating microwaved food actually changes the chemistry of your blood. I then did a lot of my own reading and research.
We chose to get rid of the microwave and have not missed it at all.
It really takes little time to just heat the food on top of the stove or in winter on top of the woodstove to save energy.
Food reheated this way actually taste so much better. My kids have grown and left home an actually chose to just not have a microwave because they knew how to reheat without one. 🙂
See how long you can give it up and I bet you won’t miss it and you and your family may reap some health benefits as well.


Laura December 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Katy, if all else fails, check out Spencer’s Appliances on SE Glisan (at 72nd maybe?). They are a great business, very honest and have good prices on used appliances.


Katy December 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm




Darcidoodle December 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

Good tip Laura, thanks!


kim December 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

i bought a new microwave at a big box store for about $35 when i moved. it was a plain jane model and served me quite well for many years much use. i felt that was much safer than buying a used microwave. great question for much thought!


AnnW December 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I would buy the brand new one. We still don’t know the long term effects of microwaves. A new one will be more likely to be efficient and not have leakage. A microwave is one of the most energy efficient appliances around. You can cook or heat up something in a microwave for less energy than on a stove or in an oven. Your Japanese son probably wants to make rice or ramen when you are not around. A new one will last a long time, since you don’t use it much. So it might work out to less than $10 a year. A used one might be a risky proposition. Ann


Kristi December 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Are you near any colleges? End of the semester is coming soon, and for those that live off-campus and are finished, there is generally copious amounts of perfectly good stuff that folks just can’t take home.

Have an electric stove/oven? The microwave actually uses less energy to run! We have an inexpensive big box microwave that is second from the cheapest model and it has made three moves now. I will admit I have no idea what ‘extras’ could warrant paying more than double…are you sure he wasn’t pricing a convection oven microwave combo?

Wait, then I looked online WOW, I guess I have always looked at and purchased Compact microwaves! It seems there are Mid and Full-Sized as well that are well beyond what I would spend on one (Like, isn’t that what a washing machine costs?! Maybe I am just naive…)

…and I just saw you may have an option to borrow one for a time – what a great idea!


ellen December 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

seems kinda silly to me to spend 109 or so to fix one, and no saying how long that is going to last, where as you could buy a new one for 90 or less.
What about a wanted add on craigslist?


Tracy Balazy December 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

My dad uses the microwave he and my mother bought in 1981. I’m not making that up. Sometimes I wonder if that thing’s safe. It still heats like a charm, though.


Carol December 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Hi Katy,
I live in Salem and I have a spare microwave that you can have. It’s a Sharp, purchased 17 years ago, but still works like a charm. I even have the manual. Never had any problems with it. If you’re interested, contact me and maybe we can work out something! We go to Portland often since my boyfriend’s family all live there. Contact me if you’re interested– I’m totally serious about this. (I’m a librarian– would I lie??!)


Elaine December 13, 2010 at 6:14 am

Katy, I want you to know how valuable your blog is! I’m now shopping thrift and consignment shops, which I never did before (I got 2 pairs of lined 24×80 drapes and a pillow for $11.45 last Saturday!). I am making many more “considered choices” about lowering my consumerism, which wasn’t that high but could always be better. Sometimes you need to buy something new. That’s just the way it is.

I remember a couple of decades ago, when “planned obsolescence” started. Before that, American workers took pride in their work, and their goods lasted a long, long time. I resent like h-e-double-hockey-sticks that items are now specifically made to break down in a short while. Learning to do without some of them makes me feel a little better!

Everyone who posts here also helps spread the idea of less consumerism. Pat yourselves on the back!



WilliamB December 13, 2010 at 10:13 am

My two cents:

If you and your family decide you want a microwave, then get the one you can afford. No one is perfect and you do a great deal of good on the non-consuming front. If new is what you can afford then go for it.

But honestly I would not get one because a temporary lodger asks for it, however politely. The lodger’s need will exist for only a few months. Nor is he a paying lodger (unless you haven’t mentioned that your school is paying for it) so this is money straight out of your own pocket. One of the reasons to visit another country and live with a foreign family is to see how they do things. Not buying a microwave is how your family does things. I think he should either do as you do or pay for the things he wants but you don’t.

PS: one of your ethics *is* financial responsibility.


rhonda December 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

I think you are doing the best you can, Katy. Sometimes we have to settle. But I also believe that manufacturers should be encouraged to make goods that are able to be repaired. If manufacturers were required to take back our non-functioning appliances, and they had to pay to dispose of them, my guess is that it would change how things are manufactured. This is not a totally new idea. From what I understand many European nations have this in place as law. It probably would increase the cost of goods which would initially be difficult. But if the end result is higher quality, non-disposable goods, and a return of the repair industry for folks who are mechanically inclined, maybe it would balance itself out and help the earth, too.


Marie-Josée December 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I would go the second hand route: I would wait for one to show up on craigslist, Goodwill, consignment stores or from a generous soul. Great debate.


hydra December 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Reading a great book about all of this stuff: Cheap–the high cost of discount culture. It’s really interesting and all about planned obsolescence, etc. Found it at the library. 🙂


Katy December 13, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Thanks for the reminder, I had meant to read this book. I now have it on hold at the library.



Sara December 14, 2010 at 6:37 am

Katy, I say go without the microwave! We have lived 20 years without one and the only time it is missed is when we have house guests. You can do it!


Rachel December 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

Not much to add to this discussion, but buying new seems like the reasonable decision. Searching Craigslist, contacting the seller, meeting the seller somewhere–all of this seems like a lot of trouble for an inexpensive appliance. A small microwave can be bought for under $50, and it can last 10-20 years. With a used microwave, there’s no telling how much life it has left in it. You could end buying another one sooner than you would like. Now, if it were a free microwave, I might go that route. Microwaves are so inexpensive these days, I’m surprised that used ones aren’t being given away.

To the readers who mentioned cancer and changes to your blood: I would double-check the medical literature on that.


Susan Lee December 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I would probably keep my eye out for a used one if I had to have one. In our case, it’s mounted where the hood of the oven is, so i’d HAVE to get a new one that fits in there or forgo it all together. I only reheat in the microwave, I don’t “cook” in it.


Patty December 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

My husband was able to replace the turn table motor in our microwave recently so I’d say if the fix we easy enough we’d try for home repair. Otherwise I see them all the time at thrift stores, pawn shops and yard sales. We had an extra we sold at our yard sale a while back (the apartment one since one came built in with the house). For me to replace around house resale time I’d need to get one that can mount over the stove but for now its still working when we need it. Honestly we use it mostly as the dog safe food zone than anything else right now.


Rieann December 24, 2010 at 6:00 am

We decided to go the repair it way when our microwave died, it cost about half of what a new one would cost, was warranted for 3 months, and lasted for 6 months. Total waste of money. A new microwave.ith two years warranty for less than twice the cost of the repairs would have been a far better choice. Current microwave cost about $220, and have had it 5 years, light blew, cost of replacement light over $80 so decided to do without. Microwave works perfectly, its just a bit liek the black hole of Calcutta, but it works, and it will do until it dies completely,


Madeline December 31, 2010 at 10:55 am

You spend a LOT of time and effort and soul in your kitchen Katy!! BUY A NEW MICROWAVE!! Another used one may have leaks or whatnot, and may need another repair down the line.It is too cost prohibitive to repair a microwave. That’s just “what is” on this planet right now.

ESPECIALLY to facilitate a simple life, in which we cook cook cook and cook some more.. We need good tools in our kitchens!!!!!!!

A new one for $90 will last a very long time,Katy.It is an investment.

You DO walk your talk way more than most! You also work, have a family, and are responsible for many many meals in one year’s time!!


Happy New Year and thank you for sharing your private life with the strangers out here in web land!!! I appreciate you!


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