A little over a year ago we gave up using our dishwasher. NOT because we wanted to… but because it just was not doing its job well any longer. Our larger than average family had worn that poor thing out. Of course, the timing was not the greatest as we were expecting our little Sienna at the time and we were quite busy. We decided to hold off on buying a new dishwasher. We were also trying to reach our goal of becoming debt free and decided that this could be a great “teachable moment” for our children. Not only would they see that sometimes you must wait to make a purchase it would also be a time to teach them about washing dishes. Over a year has passed and I think they can see that we have sacrificed and waited, so we are getting a new dishwasher (more about that in a moment). Also, we learned that they can do the dishes quite well. In fact they did not really even need this lesson I don’t think. I think I learned more about them than I was teaching. I learned that they really do learn just from observing… even when you do not realize they are observing. Both Savannah and Sierra can wash the dishes and I really only had to tell them that you must wash the outside as well as the inside of all items. To keep them from having an abundance of water waste I also learned that it was best to fill the rinse side of the sink with water rather than have water running for rinsing. As far as drying we used our old dishwasher for our drying rack, so it was still serving a purpose in our home. And if you do this it does have to be drained and cleaned periodically or you will get real nastiness going on (yes, we learned that the hard way). I learned that they already knew how to stack dishes in the racks for drying. They had learned this simply from observing. They had seen and sometimes been a part of loading the dishwasher when it was working and mostly they had seen it being unloaded as this was the job they mostly helped out with. Hand washing dishes is a great life skill to learn and there can be some wonderful moments spent working together. Teamwork is so important in large families. And sometimes we have to realize in a large family that the most efficient use of our time is best. I can seriously load a dishwasher in mere moments… a good five minutes or less and I am done. Hand washing takes on average 30-40 minutes (sometimes less), but you see there is a big difference. And while my kids can learn from doing dishes, there are other jobs that they can do. We never run out of jobs around here! So, we decided that in the interest of saving our time (and our sanity) it was time to buy a new dishwasher… Oh and we have also reached our goal of being debt free and can pay cash for this dishwasher.
I am super frugal, so this purchase was a hard one for me. I like to buy the cheapest thing whenever possible and I hold to the theory that you are better off doing that with most things. If I buy a $10 toaster it might not be the best, but you can buy four of them over the course of time rather than buy the $40 toaster. I have even had that same theory in the past with dishwashers, but I think with our larger family we really need better quality in this area. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest of everything. While many people are constantly buying new cars my husband is driving a 1990 model (that’s 22 years old) and I am driving a 2002 (that’s 10 years old). We buy many things second hand and we primarily purchase store brands. We cut corners in a lot of areas, but we are going to splurge some in this area. And I say splurge “some” because I am not going to spend extra to have a large handle on the outside and the buttons hidden. I simply could care less about those details. I am not spending extra on stainless either. I don’t like stainless. Yes, it is pretty, but it is all about the fingerprints here… black has the same issue to some degree… we are sticking with white… and that is going to save us about $300 dollars. We are not getting the thousand dollar dishwasher, but we are getting the same quality. When we went into the store I told them up front what I wanted: something that can handle a lot of use (2 runs a day or more); food chopper; white. I was shown some things about dishwashers and a lot has changed since we bought our old one about seven years ago. And I use the word “old” loosely because you would think an appliance would last longer than that. Ours only lasted about six years and one lady told me that appliances now last on average 8-10 years… and that is all… sad. Anyway, back to what we are getting… We are getting a Kitchenaid and the main reason is they come with the highest recommendation and are the only dishwashers that have a “food dispos-all” (not sure about spelling… that is the wording were told at two different locations”. I also like that the one we are getting is metal inside to retain heat better, although I have some concerns about little ones getting burned by it. The bottom water spinner has four arms and is also metal. There is also some sort of power jets in the back for tough scrub items that no other dishwasher makes. The racks are adjustable in all sorts of ways. You can move the top one up or down and the little prongs that stick up can be folded up or down in some areas to allow for bigger items. The removable utensil holder also separates I believe to make a smaller one if wanted. Our control buttons are on the front, but there is a lock button you can hold down for a few seconds that locks control of the buttons to keep little ones from changing the settings. This has never been a real issue at our house, but it is a nice feature to have. We are buying and additional five year warranty and we made our purchase through Sears, so they have their OWN service personnel. That is key when buying a warranty. Some stores do not have that. I think Conn’s and Sears may be the only ones in our area that do. Due to warranty we are still paying a hefty price for it all, but a dishwasher is like having another arm in our home. I think our total was $912 ($179 + tax for the warranty) … but if it lasts 9 years (hopefully MUCH longer) it will be worth the $100 per year it costs to save my sanity. We are saving $149 + tax by installing it ourselves. I do think we could just buy one for half the price and without the warranty and probably be just as well off… even if we have to buy two in the same time period. So, if you are looking for a dishwasher I don’t necessarily think our choice should be the choice everyone makes. You have to look at your budget and lifestyle. We have sacrificed a lot where others would not and this is a “splurge” for us. We are content to drive older cars, shop resale, buy used furniture and used dishes, use mismatched pots, buy cheap toilet paper, drink water when out to dinner and most times at home, search out secondhand appliances (sometimes), do our own remodel projects, etc.. We are “splurging” and we both agree this is a wise "splurge" for our family.