The Holiday Season on a Budget

This season is a time of celebrating our bounty, but what if the bounty isn’t so bountiful? Here are some tips on having a thrifty celebration.

  1. Turkey: Shop around for the best deal on turkey, as many grocery stores will be offering steep discounts on the bird to entice people in the door. For smaller dinners, consider getting a couple of game hens – they’ll be just as yummy and won’t leave you grumbling over leftover turkey sandwiches for weeks. For larger gatherings, plan on getting a turkey large enough to feed each guest about one to one and half pounds of meat. 
  2. Appetizers: Baked brie with jam, cranberry salsa, baked jalapeno poppers, and the stand-by of a beautifully arranged vegetable plate are all guaranteed to keep your guests happy while you put the finishing touches on your holiday meal. 
  3. Side dishes: Classic Christmas dinner sides are already pretty cheap – potatoes, corn, bread, and green beans will get you pretty far.
  4. Desserts: Desserts are the real reason everyone has gathered for this Christmas meal, so stick to two or three desserts that really shine. Pie crusts are incredibly easy to make and freeze in advance, bringing a little homemade touch to your dessert selection. And, after you’ve had your first taste of homemade whipped cream, you’ll never buy the stuff in the can again.
  5. Leftovers: Don’t forget to use those leftovers smartly. Use leftovers in creative ways so you and your family don’t burn out on them, and make sure to freeze anything you won’t use in a timely manner.

Whatever delicious recipes you choose, be sure to make a list and stick to it. Do your homework in advance, scoping out the best deals at your local grocery stores. Shopping with a list (and not when you’re hungry) is a tried and true strategy for sticking to your budget. With these tips, you are sure to pull off a spectacular holiday meal.