While the holidays are a time for getting together with family and friends to be thankful for all that we have, unfortunately, they also often become the most expensive months of the year. Big “get-togethers” mean big meals and that can mean big bills for whoever is playing host.
For most of us, gift giving, vacations, and time away for work can cause enough stress as it is on our wallets over the holidays; add the cost of hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas morning? Good luck. Therefore, it is extremely important to save where you can this time of the year, and luckily, cooking is an area you can really make a meaningful difference.
Here are three easy ways to help save your much needed money while prepping for holiday season and the expensive fun that comes along hosting.
Leverage Sales throughout the Year– Just like clothing, yard tools, and other “seasonal” products, certain foods considered to be part of typical holiday fare are often put on sale at off-peak times during the year. For example, Shopright’s “Can Can” sale is a great opportunity to get full cases of canned veggies, gravies, and other tasty items for as little as 20 cents a can!
These goods have long shelf lives, so why not stock up on the peas, corn, and of course, cranberry sauce for thanksgiving early in the Summer. Beef, turkey, and chicken stock can be used in everything from soups to sauces; these versatile ingredients should be in every pantry anyways, so again, leverage the major sales when they come up to continue to save big.
Plus, the variety of options during these sales are often greater as well; since the cost is so low, your family will enjoy trying out new products and different brands with very little financial repercussions for not liking them.
Do Your Own Baking – For many of us, the holiday season is a time for indulging in once a year sweets and desserts that we truly miss in the Spring and Summer. That means hundreds of cookies, dozens of pies, pan after pan of brownies, and endless batches of special breads and cakes.
If you can follow simple instructions (often on repetition if you have a big family), you can save significant funds by buying ingredients in bulk to do your own baking with as opposed to paying full price for the pre-boxed or store prepped versions.
Sure, the “pros” make delicious desserts, but why not try your own creation or kick start a tradition by bringing back an old family recipe again. Not only will it be fun for all, and add a lasting personal touch to an already meaningful holiday season, you’ll have that much more money for other family fun too.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help! – You know how everyone always asks “what can I bring?” whenever you invite them somewhere? Well, there is absolutely nothing wrong with actually requesting something off of your to-do list.
For example, and this is obviously dependent on the size of your party, have a few couples bring dessert and a few others provide side dishes while you prepare the main course and some appetizers. Let’s face it, Fall and Winter in general, let alone the holidays, are just great times to get together and enjoy good food and good company; unfortunately, that tends to add up if you’re consistently playing host and shouldering the bulk of the expense.
Even if you are the one who’s lucky enough to have the “party house” in the family, where it is almost expected to be the spot, that doesn’t mean you need to also be a professional chef with a never ending bankroll. Take your family and friends up on their offer to help, heck some of them may even be good cooks too!