The holiday season is just around the corner. Are you excited?
Everybody tends to go all out during the holiday season, mainly because it only comes around once a year. The one thing I look forward to, aside from gifts, is the food. It’s wonderful to have a great festive season with friends and family, until it’s all over and you’re left with a huge hole in your wallet. Whipping up a fabulous holiday meal for the family doesn’t have to break your budget. The key is to plan ahead and shop smart so you could cut your food costs in half this season.
Today, I share a number of simple ways that you can save money on food during the holidays. Holiday time should be fun, and with proper planning you don’t have to worry about overspending. So yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!
1. Check Your Pantry to See What you Already Have
Believe it or not, but your pantry is a money saver of its own. When it comes down to having regular everyday items needed to make big meals, the chances are very good that you already have these or many of these items in your pantry. When you think desserts and pies, you should check that you have sugar, flour, baking powder, and baking soda before rushing off to the store to buy more. Then there are the ingredients needed for savory dishes such as; spices, chicken stock, and oil. You need to make a note of what you have in your pantry before going out to the store, otherwise, you will end up with double of everything, which is a waste of money.
2. Get Your Shopping Done Early, Before the Mad Rush
Getting to the stores before the crowds of people do, means that you get access to great deals before anyone else does. If you wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping, you lose out on those deals and end up having to pay higher prices for most items. Don’t get yourself into that situation, it is a real money-waster.
3. Plan Ahead of Time
You need to make sure that you plan ahead for the cost of your holiday meals, making sure that it fits within your budget. When you plan things ahead of time, you tend to not end up in a situation where there is a huge financial issue.
Planning early equals less stress! With that said, I made it a lot easier for you to plan ahead with my new Holiday Planner! Along with holiday budgeting, checklists, and gift planning, there are pages where you can plan out your holiday menus, baked goods and grocery shopping lists! Fill out the form below to download the Holiday Planner for free!
4. Make a List and Don’t Stray From it
It’s vital that you make a list of all the ingredients you need to buy for all your holiday meals. Any deviation will put you in a situation where you end up purchasing things that you don’t actually need, and that leads to overspending and breaking the budget. Once you have your list together, only purchase items on it – and… don’t be tempted by candy or other treats while you are standing in the checkout line. 😀
5. Do a Potluck
There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to do all the work by yourself. You can decide to be in charge of the turkey, but you can cut your cost in half by asking each of your guests to bring either a side dish or a dessert. Times are tough for everyone and you can bet your bottom dollar that none of your guests will mind chipping in. Your guests will actually feel happy to be able to be part of the process, and it will allow them to show off their special talents.
6. Buy Items That Are in Season
If you haven’t already noticed, take note now! The reason items that are in season are cheaper is that there is so much of it available, and the stores get these items at a very low rate, which is why they can offer it to their customers at a really good price. Make a point of sticking with dishes that use these ingredients, rather than buying items that are out of season at the time. In November and December, you will find that sweet potato, pumpkin, oranges, cranberries, winter squash, mushrooms, pears, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach are all items that are in season and cost less during the holidays.
7. Leftovers Can be Used to Create New Meals
Whatever leftovers you have can be reused to create a few more delicious meals. Leftover chicken, ham, turkey or any other meats can be made into a wonderful pasta dish, you can even use some of it to flavor a healthy vegetable soup. You can pretty much make an array of salads, sandwiches, or quiches are also great ways to deal with all your holiday leftovers.
Babble has a great list of ways to enjoy holiday leftovers! If you don’t want to do that, pay it forward and give your leftovers to someone in need.
8. Let Your Guest Bring Their Own Drinks
In order to keep the cost of beer, wine, and champagne down, ask your guests to bring what they enjoy drinking. You can supply a few starter drinks to welcome them when they come in. Another great way to save money on holiday drinks is to come up with a unique cocktail idea and then let everyone chip in to pay for the ingredients.
9. And Then There Are Coupons
We all love coupons and they can be found everywhere, especially during the holidays. If you can take the time out to collect as many coupons as you can, you will be surprised at how much money you can actually save. Sometimes, you will actually end up getting some money back and not paying anything for your grocery shop.
Well, there you have it guys! These money saving tips on holiday meals will help you get through the holidays with ease, and most likely even have some spare cash left over. You can use this extra cash to spoil your family when everyone else has used up all their cash.
If you follow these simple steps, you will never ever have a bad holiday again. Share these tips with friends and family so that they can also have a great holiday season and not have to worry. As much as we all love Santa Clause, he is not going to bring anyone free food, so it is up to you to make sure that you plan ahead, shop ahead of time, budget well, make lists – stick to them and even start stockpiling on non-perishable items a couple of months in advance.
Take this advice and put it to good use, and never have a bad festive season again. You have nothing to lose, you will not regret using these tips to save money on holiday food.