Are you hosting Christmas dinner this year with a bunch of people that you only see once a year? Are you trying to figure out how you are going to feed everyone and buy them gifts too? The holidays are a very expensive time of the year, but it doesn’t have to be if you budget yourself. You can make a fantastic Christmas dinner for you and your family without breaking the bank if you follow these simple steps.
1. Watch the flyers.
Stores will often offer you a free turkey or ham if you spend a certain amount of money during the holidays. Typically you don’t even have to spend a huge amount, usually your weekly groceries will get you the free turkey or ham.
2. Make it from scratch.
If you prepare everything yourself you will save a ton of money. I know it can be hard to find the time to make it all from scratch but it really doesn’t take more time. Certain things such as mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time, frozen and reheated. Just make sure you take all the prepared frozen food out of the freezer ahead of time.
3. Use in-season vegetables.
Fresh vegetables are cheaper than canned, even frozen is cheaper than canned. As long as the vegetables are in season you can usually get them at a good price and save yourself some money.
4. Make your own desserts.
Pre-made crusts are not that expensive and are usually on sale during the holidays. Just grab a few pie crusts, some apples and seasoning and you can make an apple pie for about $5 as opposed to $15 for a frozen or store made pie.
5. Save money on the drinks.
You don’t have to be all about the good wine. You can start out serving the good wine and then switch to cheaper stuff once your guests have loosened up a bit. They probably won’t even notice. For non-alcoholic drinks or mixer stick with store brand soda instead of name brand to save some extra bucks.
6. Find out how many guests will be attending your dinner.
Having an exact head count will help you to not over buy and waste food.
7. Cook the right amount of food.
Since you now have a head count you can cook the right amount of food for your guests. Don’t plan to have leftovers. To figure out how big of a turkey you should buy a good rule of thumb is to figure two pounds per person. So if you are having 10 guests, than a 20-pound turkey should feed everyone.
8. Keep everything simple.
There is no need to have a ton of dishes. I know you might want to please everyone but sticking to the basics is the best thing to do for your budget. Have one meat, one starch, one vegetable and one dessert. You will appreciate the ease in only having to cook one of each of these dishes on your dinner day.
9. Make your list and stick to it.
No impulse buying, just get exactly what you need, nothing more.
10. Encourage your guests to bring a dish.
If one of your guests is good at making desserts, ask them to bring one. A lot of the time your guests will even ask if they should bring anything, so take advantage of that. I know when I go for a dinner I always bring a bottle of wine and a appetizer or dessert. Create a list of possible things you’d like someone to bring for you. Anything helps and it will make things easier for you.
There is absolutely no need to break the bank to have a great Christmas dinner with your family and friends. Just be smart and you can save a ton of headaches and money.
I hope you have a fabulous Christmas this year!
What’s your favourite dish to serve at Christmas time?