The holidays are a great reason to bring family and friends together to celebrate. It can however turn into a costly venture between the food, drink, decorations and special diet considerations. Relax, you certainly don’t need any more stress! Just follow our tips below for entertaining on a budget. You will be sharing holiday cheer and have a great time without the dread of the bill at the end. Happy holidays!
Create a menu in advance
Creating a menu for the holiday events you will be hosting can definitely save you money. With a plan in place you will only purchase the food you are going to need and nothing will go to waste.
Adjust your menu to include what is on sale
Flexibility is the key to saving some money. If you want to challenge yourself make the menu plan after you shop only buying what is on sale. Let your creativity flow.
Do one large grocery shop
Having created a menu you will only have to shop once for your holiday meals. This prevents impulse buying items which may or may not get used and cost you more then you may have planned.
Emphasize ingredients that are less costly
Grains and legumes are inexpensive and are high in protein, B vitamins and fiber. In addition they add heaviness to a meal or appetizer that most people rely on meat for. Bulk departments carry a huge variety and they last a long time so they are ideal for holiday entertaining on a budget.
Purchase ingredients selectively.
When deciding on your holiday menus; don’t purchase ingredients for a one time recipe that you are not likely to use again. Change the menu or the recipe to include what you already have.
Save money on organics.
If you want to incorporate organic foods follow the Dirty Dozen and the clean 15 as set out by the environmental working group. This will help you to decide where to spend your money with the greatest health benefit and cost savings.
Buy generic brands of food or the grocery stores private label.
Quite often the private label brand of food (yes, Community has one!) is just as good as if not better than brand named products. Big name brands tend to cost more at they are paying more marketing dollars to promote their product and it has nothing to do with the quality of the ingredients. This can save you up to 10% on your grocery bill.
Look up and down - most expensive are at eye level
It is a strategy that most grocery stores use and a tactic brands love. We tend to purchase items that are at our eye level. Brands vie for these spots as the sales are greater. They also tend to be more expensive. Be sure to look high and low for the more economically priced items with just as much nutritional value.
Hold a vegetarian appetizer event
The most expensive food category to purchase is meat. In Canada we eat way more meat than nutritionally necessary. Cutting back on serving it at your next party will save you money and it is environmentally friendly too!
Purchase from the ugly foods and discount racks
Again flexibility is the key to saving a few dollars. Depending on what you are making the discount rack may just have what you need or you can adjust to include what is available.
Prepare your own instead of purchasing prepared foods
Impress your friends and family by taking the time to prepare your own appetizers. Cooking at home will not only save you money but you can control the ingredients ensuring to use healthy choices.
Make it a potluck
People love to contribute and share their favorite recipes. It will also make your dinner or appetizer offering more interesting. Not up to asking everyone? Just ask your family or close friends to contribute.