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I agree with everything except the Instant Pot. I have had mine for about 2 years and use it regularly for making practically everything in a fraction of the time.
I found some great little metal bowls in various sizes, perfect for anything from 1tsp to 1.5 cups, at a local Asian food store. The little ones were 89 cents and the biggest were $1.19!! I use them as prep stations for ingredients, and they are soooo easy to clean!!! And I wholeheartedly agree with your comment on the "gimmicky pots" being crap. I think all non-stick are. None of them seem to last longer than 2 years. I have a set of All Clad pots/pans that I love. Yes, they were PRICEY, but I will have them for.ev.er. We also have a couple carbon steel pans, and again, pricey but will last. The carbon steel pans are now non-stick after all the use we give them. I think that saving up some money to buy the best you can is always a good thing. There is (usually) a reason why something is so inexpensive.
I am lucky that I have a big "kitchen store" and a couple restaurant supply stores nearby. I was able to go hold various knives in my hand to find ones that fit ME. After finding some, I did research on all of them, and then did more searching for the best price. I think a good paring knife is also a good addition for smaller projects.
I have the Breville Air Fryer/all-in-one/Pro Oven, and it is used daily. Living in AZ it is often too damn hot to turn on an oven, but the oven on the Breville is perfect. The air fryer has changed how we eat our tofu (crunchy!!!! A tad burnt!!!!), and is quick to roast some veggies for whatever. We watched and waited for a sale and then bought one. It is big, so not everyone will have the counter space for it. In the end, I think these things help with my cooking experience, making it easier and more of a pleasure. Cooking a creamy soup IN my Vitamix is a miracle!
I'd be interested to know which knife you love from Shun. They have so many that I get lost in all the pretty shiny!