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TheStreet Open House

5 Things You Spend On, Then Never Use

Outdoor kitchens
Blame it on evolutionary traits that have persisted since the days mammoth meat was seared over a bonfire, but many folks live to grill.

The problem, from a financial standpoint, is when that love of outdoor cooking runs amok. That simple charcoal grill is no longer good enough -- you need a bigger gas grill, then a bigger one again. Three, four, eight burners may not be enough to satisfy grill envy.

Then there are built-in coolers, smokers and outdoor furniture. Then other kitchen accessories migrate outdoors with such flourishes as stone peninsulas and full ovens.

Before you know it, your backyard looks like a Bobby Flay restaurant and the costs have multiplied faster than you imagined.

It will be even more painful to survey your outdoor kitchen masterpiece if you really never needed any of it. Cooking two burgers with $5.99 ground sirloin from Safeway (SWY) on an elaborate grill that costs thousands isn't going to make them taste any better than on, say, a $20 hibachi. And all that fancy gas heat may never even adequately replicate the smoky taste and aroma of food cooked over coals.

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