Many families and friends get together to celebrate, spend time together, and share a meal during the holiday season. However, due to inflation, food is more expensive this year. If you’re worried about the financial aspect of putting together a nice holiday meal, we have some ideas that may help you save money. You don’t have to spend a lot to make the holidays special, and by making a few changes, you can pay less and still have a delicious meal. Here are eight ways to make your holiday meal more affordable.
1. Shop with a list
When you don’t have a list, it can be easy to buy more than you need and forget essential ingredients. Before you head to the store to get your holiday meal ingredients, make a shopping list. That way, you’ll have a plan, which can help you spend less and make your shopping experience a lot easier.
2. Compare prices between stores
Before you head out to shop, it’s a good idea to look at sales flyers for stores in your area and compare prices on the items you need to buy. Most stores put popular holiday meal items on sale leading up to the holiday. If you have several stores near your home, you can compare prices and buy the cheapest items at each store. Just be sure to consider the cost of gas and the distance between stores before driving all over town.
3. Don’t ignore generic brands
While shopping, take a look at the cost of generic brand items and compare them to the cost of name-brand items. In many cases, store-brand products are a lot cheaper than name-brand products. Purchasing generic ingredients can offer significant savings, and no one will know the difference.
4. Use cash back apps
Cash back apps offer an easy way to earn cash back on your purchases. These mobile apps are simple to use, and they offer cash back at many popular grocery stores and other stores. The more you use these apps, the faster your earnings will add up. Once you meet the minimum cash-out amount, you can withdraw the funds you’ve earned. You can then use these funds for a future shopping trip.
5. Host a potluck dinner
If you’re hosting this year, consider suggesting a potluck dinner where everyone brings one dish. A potluck dinner makes for a fun experience because everyone gets to contribute, and it also lessens the financial burden for everyone. If you want to keep things organized, start a group chat and have everyone communicate ahead of time about what dish they plan to bring.
6. Buy some dishes premade
It may be cheaper to buy some prepared dishes. For example, desserts may cost less at your local grocery store. If you don’t bake often, it can be costly to stock up on all the baking ingredients that you need. Many grocery stores sell inexpensive premade dessert items. You can save money and spend less time preparing your meal.
7. Create new traditions
You may think a holiday meal has to include certain dishes, but that’s not the case. You have the freedom to be creative as you plan your next meal. There are no rules that say you need to eat turkey or ham. Why not start a new tradition this year? You can get your family involved to make the planning process more fun, and it may save you some money, too.
8. Don’t be afraid to accept help
Community resources can be helpful, especially during the holiday season. Check your local community groups to see what they’re doing to help families prepare for the holidays. Some organizations will give out ingredients, full meals, or gift cards to help you buy what you need. Don’t feel embarrassed to take advantage of these resources. They exist for a reason and they can make the busy holiday season less stressful.
Your holiday meal doesn’t have to be fancy, traditional, or expensive. By getting creative and changing your shopping habits, you can make your next holiday meal more affordable. We have more personal finance resources to help you make more informed financial choices.