Killing time at the Goodwill off Eighth Avenue in Berry Hill recently, I window-shopped as if I were setting up a kitchen. That's how we did it back in the day. We bought Waring blenders, Kitchen-Aid mixers, Toastmaster toasters and Fiesta Ware at second-hand stores and estate sales. It was all terribly out of fashion, but it always worked for years.
Don't get me (or anyone at Davis Cookware) started on kitchen gear these days. But our single-sentence advice to you is: whatever mid-price piece of kitchen gear you're pondering, your odds of getting a quality piece of equipment are better if you go on eBay and find one that someone received 20 years ago as a wedding gift and never opened. New stuff is just unpredictable crap, which I've ranted about for ages.
I found two different Cuisinart products on Goodwill's shelves, including a coffee grinder/brew and this blender/food processor that would probably sell for $80 today. Doesn't seem like much, but you don't know what you're getting. At least at Goodwill, you know it works, because someone there fixed it. And when it finally stops, you can feel satisfied that you only paid $14 for it.