Host Your First Holiday: Tips for Stretching Your Food Budget

The Holidays can be an expensive time for most families. From gift buying, decorations, and food, most family’s budgets are already stretched pretty tightly during the festive seasons. Many of us would like to host a holiday, but the thought of adding even more financial strain to our already maxed out budgets may deteriorate us. Below are 5 tips to help maximize your food budget, and host your first holiday without exhausting your finances.

1. Make a List and Check it Twice

Take a hint from Santa and make your grocery list, check it twice and see who is naughty and who is nice. Or in this case, buy only what is needed and remove all the wants and splurges. Here is the golden rule: STICK TO YOUR LIST! It happens often in a grocery store: You have a list, you get your items, and as you’re walking towards the finish line you see several products that just scream your name. When this happens, remember the golden rule, and stick to your list!

2. Minimize Meat�

The price of meat seems to get more expensive with each passing year. You can greatly stretch your food budget by minimizing your meat consumption. Instead of meat-ridden dishes, you can easily substitute in items like beans, chickpeas and grains. These items are much cheaper than meat; add bulk and aid in stretching and filling dishes.

3.Hunt for Those Coupons

There are plenty of coupons tailored towards holiday foods and specialty items in weekly newspapers, magazines, emails and online. Many brands now offer coupons for their items on their website. A simple “Printable grocery coupons” Google search, will take you to hundreds of websites that allow you to print all the coupons your heart desires, or until your printer collapses in exhaustion. Ebay is a great website to purchase bulk coupons in one shot. These sellers have already gathered and clipped the coupons for you. Many of these coupons sell for a dollar, and you get a hundred or so coupons. The savings outweigh the initial costs.

4.Bake from Scratch

Even though it can be convenient to pick up pre-made cookies, pies and other baked goods for your first time dinner, it is usually more cost-effective to make these items on your own. One pie may go for $8, but that same 8 bucks can buy the ingredients needed to make that pie, and in the end, last you enough to bake 2/3 pies. Purchase your baking supplies from warehouse clubs, bake everything at once, and you’ll aid in stretching your food budget.

5. Buy in Bulk

As long as you’re planning on using the items, buy them in bulk to save money. Do not buy items for the sake of a sale, as these items will most likely just sit in your pantry, unused. Remember the golden rule and stick to your list. Purchase the items on your list in bulk.

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