For a family on a budget or just trying to spend well, ingredients for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner can put a pinch on the ol’ pocketbook, especially when you still have to buy regular groceries for the rest of the week too. So I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of ways to save on your holiday dinner.
Did you know that the average holiday dinner for the average sized family costs about $50? That’s just for the dinner though. That amount does not include drinks, multiple desserts, decor or any other little extras you might like to include. And if you have a large family, the cost can go through the roof quick.
The good news is, there are ways you can save while shopping for items for your holiday dinner.
7 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Dinner
Score a cheap turkey or ham.
Many grocery stores offer free (or deeply discounted) turkeys or hams with the purchase of a specific amount of groceries. Since you will likely have to do your regular grocery shopping in addition to your holiday dinner shopping, be sure and fill up your cart with your families essentials and grab that bird for cheap or free!
Or stop by Aldi. You’ll often find whole turkeys for around $0.99/lb year round!
Make it a Pot Luck.
If you are a guest, ask the host what you can bring to help offset their costs. If you are the host, request that everyone bring a side dish or dessert while you provide the main event of turkey and dressing. If everyone brings something, the overall cost is quite low for each person.
If you’re not spontaneous and the idea of a traditional pot luck gives you anxiety, plan ahead and assign everyone a dish or dessert to bring.
If you’re on a super tight budget, avoid homemade desserts. Blasphemy I know, but a good savings tip is to avoid baking homemade pies and cakes. There are often big sales on frozen pies and you can buy them for much less than you can make them yourself. And of course you can also pick up cake and brownie mixes for cheap around the holidays.
Non-homemade doesn’t have to be boring. Try doing a Pinterest search for cake mix cookies or dump cakes.
Shop early and watch sales.
Keep an eye on sales as the holiday approaches, and be sure to stock up on individual items when you see great deals. You’ll find super low prices on baking ingredients, canned vegetables, dinner rolls and other essentials to save on your holiday dinner.
Buy generic and use coupons.
Do not hesitate to buy generic brands. Items such as canned vegetables, peanut butter and other pantry staples are often the exact same product as their brand name counterparts. Also, be sure to have your coupons ready. Coupons are always a great way to save and the holidays are no exception!
Make a list.
This is a great way to save money on your holiday shopping trips. Sit down and make a list of every expense and needed item. Write down a cost estimate beside each item. Each time you buy an item, check it off of your list. This habit is a good way to make sure you don’t have to make any last minute trips to the store to buy forgotten items, and it helps cut back on impulse spending.
I’m always up for a good challenge…even if it’s with myself. Try setting a realistic budget for your holiday dinner and then see if you can beat it. Use the left over money from your budget to splurge on a few extra details or add it to your savings for Christmas shopping!
You just need to practice a little creativity and determination to save on your holiday dinner. There are so many more ways to do this, but I hope this list at least gets you started in the right direction.