Holiday meals tend to get extravagant thanks to traditions and the general spirit of the holidays. More often than not, people budget for how much they will spend on gifts this season without thinking about the added cost of food. While it’s easy to put your diet on hold for the festivities, your finances are not as easy to ignore.
Here are five ways you can avoid losing more than you need to this season.
Stock Up Early
Take inventory of what you have and start making a list of what you need. Basics like flour, pumpkin, spices, cranberry sauce, baking soda, etc. will go on sale early, so take advantage of that.
Besides getting a better price, you also won’t have to worry about running around town finding a store that’s not sold out at the last minute.
Think About Portions
A big chunk of meat is the iconic symbol of the holiday meal. Before you grab one out of the grocery store freeze, think about how much you actually need.
A good rule to go by is one pound of meat per person. If you like leftovers, you can bump that up to 1.5 pounds per person.
Make Your Own Stuffing and Other Sides
While packaged mixes for sides and desserts are convenient, they’re also much more expensive. Try making dishes from scratch and enlist everyone’s help to make it go faster.
Stuffing is especially easy to make, and you can start saving heels of bread now to use in your recipe.
Go Black Friday Grocery Shopping
Black Friday shopping shouldn’t be limited to gifts. The grocery store will have plenty of deals after Thanksgiving, especially on turkeys and other holiday meal items that expire.
You’re probably going to have a lot of food for leftovers. Too often, people make the mistake of leaving leftovers as-is in the fridge, with the idea they’ll reheat and enjoy for days. The portions don’t always work out that way, though.
Instead, find recipes for casseroles, sandwiches, stews and more that utilize your leftovers. This will help stretch them while also creating something new and exciting for everyone to enjoy.
Remember: by saving more money with these tips, you’ll have more money to spend on the fun stuff!