10 Ways to Spend Less Money on Groceries
How to Combat Overspending on Holiday Food
In most families, holiday meals are a key part of cherished holiday traditions, but they can also be expensive and stressful. This year, start a new tradition to curb overspending on holiday food with these tips.
1.Have too many cooks in the kitchen.Instead of one person being responsible for cooking and paying for the entire meal, share the responsibility and have people contribute. Organize a potluck or ask people to bring certain courses, like desserts or starters. Be sure to coordinate with your guests to eliminate duplicate dishes.
2. Shop smart.Shop early, plan ahead and watch out for sale items that you can keep in your pantry or freeze like meat, flour and canned goods.
Buy in bulk to get a good price, but be sure you buy only what you need so you don't end up spending more than necessary, says Enza Ketcham, holiday shopping expert from deals and discounts blog Enza's Bargains. That way, you won't have more food left over than you have time to eat it. Ketcham says that when she's entertaining, she compares the number of people eating to the amount of food cooked to keep everything in balance. Her number-one tip? Always remember that you're feeding a family—not an entire army.
Before you head to the checkout counter, be sure you stay on top of how much you spend at different stores so that you don't go over budget. Use a free service, like Manilla.com or the 4+ star customer-rated Manilla mobile apps, to track your account balances and pay your bills on the go. You can also pay with cash so that you have a better sense of what you actually spent.
3. Plan your menu effectively.Every family has its favorite holiday food staples and recipes, but there are ways to cook the dishes everyone loves without breaking the bank. Reduce the portion size for the expensive items on your menu. People won't miss the extra food, and everyone always fills up on side dishes anyway.
Keep your dishes simple and don't make multiple variations of the same foods. All the extra ingredients add up. Remind yourself that making four stuffing dishes is costly and is a lot of extra work.
Hostesses know that alcohol is an expensive part of entertaining. Serve any alcoholic gifts that you receive for the holidays to your guests. Instead of stocking a full bar, consider making a punch or eggnog that lets you stretch your liquor. It is hard to please everyone's drink preferences, so save money and ask your guests to bring their drink of choice.
4. Make a list; check it twice.Always make a budget for holiday food and stick to it. Consider your overall holiday gifting and travel costs, and create a budget for food that makes you feel comfortable.
From there, compile a list of all of the ingredients that you will need. It will not only help organize your shopping efforts but also prevent you from being sidetracked in the store and buying items you don't really need. Check for coupons and specials before you shop to be sure you get the best deal for everything on your list.
5. Make the most out of leftovers.Get creative with your leftovers. Repurpose them to feed your family and save money on future meals. Use your holiday ham at breakfast, make a casserole out of your side dishes and construct creative sandwiches.
Always remember that giving can be better than receiving, especially during the holiday season. Donate your extra cans to a soup kitchen or volunteer your time to serve other people meals.
Now go eat, drink and be merry. Happy holidays!
Maitland Greer is a regular contributor to theManilla Blogand money-saving expert forManilla.com, the leading free and secure service that lets you manage your bills and accounts in one place online and via mobile apps. Maitland is the voice of Manilla's social media channels and provides the Manilla community with productivity, organization and financial news and advice.
Video: How to Avoid Holiday Overspending
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