It’s that time of year again. It’s time to start planning for the holidays, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Not only is it the perfect time to gather with your family and friends, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to feast on all the delicious food this time of the year brings. However, as the host of these lavish meals, the costs can add up fast. The expense of entertaining can bring unnecessary holiday stress for those on a budget.
1. Be Realistic at the Grocery Store
You may think you need to purchase that deluxe turkey or huge ham for your holiday meal, but be realistic. With all the food available during the holidays, your family will have plenty of options to feast on. If you are hosting less than 10 people, save some money by purchasing a 12 to 14-pound turkey or a medium-size ham. You’ll still have plenty of leftovers at the end of the night.
2. Ask Everyone to Bring a Favorite Dish
This holiday season, go ahead and ask your guests to bring a favorite dish to pass around. Or, ask one person to bring a dessert and another to bring an appetizer, and so on. Not only will your guests feel more included, but they will bring a dish you know they will enjoy eating. You’ll limit the amount of wasted food during the holidays while saving money in the process.
3. Use What You Already Have
When you are in charge of hosting a big holiday feast, you may end up buying the whole grocery store in preparation. However, that is not only costly, but it is also unnecessary. So this holiday season before you go shopping, see what is in your pantry first.
If you have any leftover bread, slice it up, add some seasoning and broth, throw in some vegetables and make your own stuffing. Check to see which spices you already have in your cabinet. Not only will you avoid overstocking on supplies, but your budget will be that much smaller.
4. Take It Easy on the Alcohol
Everyone loves a nice glass of wine or a chilled beer to get in the holiday spirit. However, this holiday season, limit the amount of booze you offer. You don’t have to remove it from your menu but offer it wisely. For example, you can make a big batch of sangria or have some of your guests bring their own boozy treats.
5. Stick to Your Grocery List
Even though 10 side dishes may seem like a good idea, they are not necessary. So, this holiday season, make a plan and stick to it. Make a list of essential dishes and write out your grocery list from there. It will save you time, money, and refrigerator space.
At the end of the day, Christmas and the holidays are about family and friends, celebrations, and having a good time. Your guests won’t remember you didn’t offer them five bottles of wine, but they will remember the laughter and the way they felt spending their holiday with you. This holiday season, keep it simple, save money in the process, and enjoy the celebration.