I love everything about the holidays. I love entertaining my friends, cooking, playing games, and giving presents. But most of all its providing a delicious meal that everyone will love. My husband and I have a goal to purchase a home in September 2018 so we are very meticulous about how we spend money. But just because I’m on a budget, doesn’t mean I don’t want to serve a well-rounded meal that will leave everyone wanting seconds. I’ve always been able to find ways to save on food and decorations for the holiday but I know it’s still hard for people to create a holiday meal without breaking the bank. Have you ever wondered how you can host a Holiday dinner on a tight budget? Well, it’s totally possible to host a mouth-watering feast on a budget and I’m going to show in 10 easy steps.
Stick to a Traditional Thanksgiving meal.
If you love traditional Thanksgiving food then you are ahead of the game. Most grocery stores will have your typical ingredients on sale. My favorite seasoning blends are always on sale. You can also find great deals on potatoes, frozen turkeys, cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin and more. Stores like Winn-Dixie sometimes offer free turkeys with a minimum purchase price. If you’re an Aldi shopper like me, you can find hams for a steal! Not to mention, you can search for coupons to match the grocery store sales save even more.
Stick to a list.
I cannot stress this point enough. You cannot remain on a budget if you do not stick to your list. Write out your menu and budget and stick to it. I find the best sales to be the weekend before Thanksgiving. Remember to shop your pantry first. I can’t tell you how many bottles of cinnamon and basil I have because I didn’t check my pantry. If you already have these items in your pantry, you can decrease your bill even more because you’ll need to buy less.
Make items from scratch.
My grandmother’s and great aunts despised boxed food. I have memories of my grandmother tasting a piece of cake and immediately knowing if it was homemade or not. More than just for taste, I love homemade items because it’s much more cost-effective. Rule out pre-made items such as boxed mashed potatoes, dressing, pies, and gravy. A bag of potatoes will go a long way. Cornbread is so simple to make for dressing, and you can make your own gravy from turkey drippings. It’s the small things that will help you stick to your budget.
Host a pot-luck.
It’s a known fact that the host spends the most; however, you can significantly cut your budget in half simply by hosting a pot-luck. Is there someone in your family that makes the best sweet potato pie or dressing? Have them bring those items. Assign drinks, side dishes, and anything else to bring. Pot-lucks are also informal so you don’t have to worry about setting an elegant table if it’s not your style. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas for the first time, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew (pun intended), a pot-luck is the way to go.
Make recipes based on cost.
If you are on a strict budget, your best move would be to create a menu based on cost per serving. You can search for recipes that have overlapping ingredients. For example, if your dish calls for fresh thyme, look for other dishes that call for the same herbs and spices. The goal is to use up all your ingredients to avoid food waste and save more money. To make this easier, search online for receipts by ingredient.
Purchase a frozen turkey or ham.
As I said earlier sometimes you can get a free turkey with a minimum purchase but if your grocer doesn’t offer these deals you can find other ways to save. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying frozen meat. You can spend up to 50% less on frozen turkeys or ham, and it will be just as delicious as a fresh one. If you’re purchasing a turkey, remember to thaw it in the fridge for safety reasons. It can take up a week to thaw one in the fridge so is sure check its weight in time.
Cut back on the side dishes.
I love a good menu but sometimes we tend to go overboard with the sides. I mean you don’t need 20 side dishes for one turkey or ham. We don’t serve dressing and cornbread or sweet and regular mashed potatoes. One or two desserts are enough, especially if you’re hosting an intimate Thanksgiving meal. Carefully plan your menu. You save money and the time it takes to clean up the kitchen.
Shop at a lower priced grocery store.
I love Aldi. My grocery budget significantly decreased when I discovered Aldi. Their prices are bananas. I mean I just purchased a dozen eggs for $0.69!!!! How crazy is that? One major tip I have is not to be afraid of brands you don’t know. Their food is fresh and just as delicious as well-known brands. If you want to sweeten the deal, check out their double guarantee policy. If you aren’t satisfied with any product, they will replace the items AND refund your money! Now that’s what I call customer satisfaction.
Skip the bottled spices.
You cannot have a delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas meal without herbs and spices. I mean who wants sweet potato pie without nutmeg and dressing without sage? That would be a total bust. Spices, however, can get pretty expensive, especially my favorite brand. Instead of purchasing bottled spices, head to the Spanish or Hispanic Isle and purchase bagged spices. Badia spices are great and offer most of their spices in a bag. Rosemary, for instance, is $0.68 a bag and it goes a long way. That’s 75% less than what I would pay if I purchased the bottled seasoning. That is major savings.
Use the decorations you already have or buy very little.
You don’t have to go out and buy new decorations. Use dishes you have. It doesn’t have to be the “color of Thanksgiving” to feel like Thanksgiving. You can use all white. If you have to have decorations, head to the Dollar Store. You can make great centerpieces for $10 or less. You can even use the food as the décor the table. I mean what could be better?
By using these tips and tricks will not only help you stick your budget but it will help you provide a delicious meal each year. What’s most important is that you celebrate this time of year with the people you’ll love and they’ll love you even more if the food is delicious.
What tips do you have to save on your holiday meals?
How to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner was seen first on Hobbies and Cents.