Often times one of the scariest times to hit the stores is when you are getting ready to shop for your holiday feasts. I myself can remember many times in which seeing the printing out of my grocery bill would cause me to break out into a sweat. Fortunately I have discovered that holiday cooking does not have to break the bank. Here are my really practical ways on how to save money while holiday cooking that I use every year.
8 Ways to Save Money While Holiday Cooking
- Let’s talk turkey. Knowing how many you are feeding is critical in saving money when it comes to your meat purchase. On average you need .75 pounds of turkey per adult, and if you know how many are coming to your feast, you may not need a large turkey or even a whole one. A turkey breast can sometimes do the job. Also keep in mind frozen turkeys are the cheapest to buy. Just allow enough time for thawing. And don’t worry if you’ve ended up cooking too much turkey. Cooked turkey can freeze successfully for 4 to 6 months. Just remember to package in small serving sizes for convenience.
- Fill your guests up with cheaper to make recipes such as potatoes, rice, and salad. You can still have some more expensive, specialty items on the table, just shrink back the serving sizes on your more expensive food purchases.
- Borrow seldom used cooking tools. How many times of year do you use that huge roasting pan or serving dish? Once, twice, maybe three times? Is it worth it to actually purchase these items or would it be a good idea to try to borrow them from friends and family who are not hosting the holiday meals?
- Go potluck. Who says only Mom has to cook? I personally am a big fan of the potluck meals as people usually bring their best recipes to share. And what a cost savings knowing that you only have to make the annual green bean casserole every year.
- Take turns hosting the holiday meal. It’s easier to justify the expense of the large holiday meal if you know that you only have to be responsible for it for every 4 years.
- Try a progressive dinner. It’s kind of like the potluck idea, only you get to travel from one host’s house to the next for various parts of the meal such as appetizers, turkey, dessert. It could add a fun twist to your next holiday meal, and spreading out the expense over many families could also be a big relief.
- Don’t Cook! Many charities out there are looking for volunteers to work the holidays to serve those who are in need. What a great family tradition you could create by simply refusing to cook and offering to help those in need instead. photo credit: paukrus
- Buy your holiday decor the year before. Right now I have been noticing Halloween decorative items on clearance everywhere for 75 to 80% off of retail prices. The same thing will happen this year after Thanksgiving and then after the winter holidays as well. Plan ahead for next year, and you can create a beautiful holiday table on a dime.
There you have it. Preparing a fantastic holiday meal does not have to break the bank. With a little time, preparation, and creativity you too can actually save money holiday cooking for your friends and family. The cold sweats at the cash register can be a thing of the past.
What are your tips for saving on your holiday feasts?