Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12 Tips to Save Money on Holiday Meals

During the holidays it is so easy to spend money with all the advertisers, family, friends, co-workers and children asking you to buy this or buy that. Resist the temptation to spend money that you don’t have, buy more than you need, or buy something you probably will not use simply because it is on sale. Many times items that are on sale are not really a bargain. 

Remember the real reason for the holiday and focus on giving and being with your family and friends. If you have to go shopping for groceries do comparison shopping to see if you can find the item for a cheaper price at another store or online.  

If you love the Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa meal but don’t enjoy the money spent from your wallet, you are not alone. The added cost of hosting out of town guests and feeding family and friends can be overwhelming and full of stress and pressure. However, saving money on your holiday meal is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are 12 advantageous tips to save money on holiday meals. 

  1. Make lists. Make a list of what you need and can afford to buy and stick to it. Make a list of what you need but can’t afford to buy and ask guests to bring those items. Create a food budget and don’t go over that amount.
  2. Menu.  Create a menu ahead of time and stick to it.  Consider low cost items for the menu such as potato salad, salads, sweet potatoes, casseroles, etc.
  3. Local shopping. Visit local vendors, buy items in season, fresh is always better.
  4. Coupons. Know your prices and when items go on sale.  Use coupons on sale items. Shop at stores that offer double coupons and discounts for loyalty card members.
  5. Smaller meal. Consider having brunch instead of dinner to save money. Ask friends and family to bring a dish to help cut downs on costs.
  6. Side items. Buy ingredients for side dishes at least one week before you buy the meats.
  7. Meats. Buy meats when they are deeply discounted for $2 a pound or less (expired, one day sales, out of season, etc.). Lean meats are usually cheaper and have less fat such as beef.  Buy in bulk (family size) such as a pork shoulder, chicken quarters, ground beef by the tube or a side or quarter of beef and you can split the cost with a relative or friend. Buy cheaper cuts of meats such as beef and tenderize them or buy pork belly, chicken thighs or drumsticks. Chuck roast instead of chuck steak. Shop at farms or farmer’s markets.
  8. Vegetables. Buy iceberg or romaine lettuce, canned vegetables, sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli, corn, celery, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower. Buy on sale, by the pound, shop at farms or farmer’s markets.
  9. Make from scratch. Make you own bread, yogurt, pasta, soda, jelly, ice cream and desserts from scratch.
  10. Drinks. Make your own non-alcoholic beverages such as tea or punch.
  11. Centerpieces. Make your own centerpieces for decorations.
  12. Condiments. Buy spices and condiments at the dollar store. Use olive oil instead of salad dressing for pasta dishes and salads.

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