Christmas dinner is a huge affair for many families. It can also end up being a bit pricey. With all of the meat, side dishes and desserts, it can definitely take a toll on your budget.
You’ve already spent money on the gifts, so keeping the costs of your meal down is extremely important. here are some tips to help you save money on your Christmas dinner.
1. CREATE YOUR BUDGET
During the holidays, it is easy to remember to create a budget for the gifts, but what about the food? Determine how much you can afford to spend on the meal and then stick to it. Make sure you also use cash to pay for your purchases so you don’t overspend.
2. SKIP THE HIGH END MEAT
Sure, a Spiral Sliced Ham or Honey Baked Ham might be heavenly. But, a nice smaller ham or even ham steaks might be more budget friendly. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to make for a wonderful meal. This is such a simple way to save money on your Christmas dinner.
3. DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Help not only save your budget, but also your time. Ask family members coming to dinner to bring one of the side dishes or entrees with them. You can have someone bring potatoes, another the rolls and someone else could even bring along the green bean casserole. By having them help, your guests feel more like they are involved in the meal and you don’t spend your time (or money) in the kitchen.
4. DON’T GO OVERBOARD
Make sure you that you know exactly how many guests will be attending. There is a difference in the amount of food you will need for 5 people vs. 8. By cooking too much food, you not only waste time, you can also waste money by having leftovers that never get eaten.
5. CREATE A LIST
In true money saving fashion, you will need a shopping list. Also, take extra time to check your grocery store coupon match ups so that you can really stretch your budget. Watch the stores for their “loss leaders” (these are items on the cover that are usual priced below retail in order to get you into their store to shop).
6. SKIP THE FANCY DECOR
No one will notice if you have a $75 floral arrangement in the center of your table. Opt for less expensive decorations such as snowflakes on the table; as sprig of garland spotted with ornaments or even small presents from beneath your tree.
Another unique idea is to take a regular balloon, fill it with water and freeze it. Once it is frozen, cut away the balloon and place the “ice ball” into a crystal bowl and set it on your table. Use candle sticks or other items to vary the height and fill balloons in different amounts. Your decorations cost you nothing but the water to fill those few balloons.
7. COOK FROM SCRATCH
It might take more work, but it can definitely save you money. When you purchase convenience foods, the costs can truly add up.
8. SHOP AT THE RIGHT TIME
Plan your menu right around Thanksgiving. Then, as the sales come up throughout the month of December, you can buy the items on sale. This helps you tackle your list overtime and also ensures you get the lowest price possible on everything you need to make a delicious meal.
9. CHECK BEFORE YOU SHOP
It is easy to make a list of everything you think you need for you meal. However, you might find that you already have many of the things you need on hand. Look in your pantry, fridge and freezer to make note of what you do not need to purchase.
10. PUT THE LEFTOVERS TO WORK
Use up all of your leftovers to make additional meals and/or lunches for the following week. You can use turkey to make turkey and noodles or ham for scalloped potatoes and ham. Take a look on Pinterest to find all sorts of amazing ideas to use up your leftovers.
The important thing about Christmas is just being with those you care about. The food, decorations and falling snow really don’t matter in the grand scheme of it all.