"A decent knife is something you cannot do without. Don't cheat yourself by using some cruddy supermarket stamped-blade knife. Drop a hundred bucks and get a real knife, and get a decent 3.5" paring knife while you're at it."
"Don't go "ugh". (I heard you). A cast iron griddle from Lodge is a fantastic tool and arguably the heart of the kitchen. Pancakes, burritos, eggs... it soaks up heat and then distributes it like no other material. Make sure you buy LODGE and no other brand."
"I didn't find the kind of baking stone I like best here, this is it: http://www.bakingstone.com/ -- It's called a "Fibrament" baking stone. Wrap it in a double-layer of aluminum foil and leave it on the bottom shelf of your oven. This acts like a thermal capacitor, as Alton Brown once pointed out. Excellent quality. Worth the money."
"Cooking goes a lot better with wine. The saying goes "I like to cook with wine -- sometimes I even put it in the food". A pleasantly lit cook is a happy cook. Dip into your savings and buy a decent corkscrew, it's worth it!"