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The holidays are a fun and festive time, full of good times, great food, and fellowship. However, as fun as they are, they can also be a bit hard on the wallet. Between the cost of food, gifts, decorations, and other holiday necessities, the holidays can be downright expensive. Unfortunately, for many people, this takes some of the joy away from this special time of year, as money worries can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some very effective ways to save money, especially when it comes to your holiday food, drink, and decoration costs.
Do Some Planning
One of the best things you can do is plan ahead for your holiday meals. By deciding on your menu and recipes well in advance of the day, you can save yourself a significant amount of money. Look for recipes that are easy to prepare and can be made in advance. In addition, look for items that have many common ingredients. By cooking in advance and freezing dishes, you can avoid having to bear the cost of your meal all at once. By keeping things simple, you can slow down and more thoroughly enjoy the day. A traditional meal that’s simple and well done is often more impressive and elegant than one complicated by too many side dishes.
Be a Smart Shopper
Now that you’ve made the key decisions on what you’ll be preparing, you can take advantage of the great deals, specials, and coupons leading up to the big day. Most grocery retailers start to merchandise and offer special deals on key ingredients about a month before the holiday. Stock up on things you’ll need and take advantage of any buy-one-get-one deals on items you know you’ll be using. Don’t forget to check your pantry and your spice drawer. Utilizing items you already have can help you save. Look for deals on key ingredients that have a good shelf life, such as cans of broth, cranberry sauce, or pumpkin. Items that come frozen such as pie crusts, breads, or vegetables are great things to stock up on early, as are non-perishable items such as nuts, flour, and sugar. The more you can spread the cost of your meal out over the weeks ahead, the easier the holidays will be on your budget.
Make It a Family Affair
Anyone you invite to your holiday dinner will most likely offer to bring something or offer to help in some way. Don’t feel like you have to do it all alone. Accept all offers and be prepared to give people solid ideas on what’s needed. Having each guest contribute a little to the meal will not only help you keep the cost down, but it’ll also help the day go smoother and make it more enjoyable. Some ideas to give the others are desserts, appetizers, side dishes, and beverages. Many times, the items your guests bring to the meal are part of their own traditions, which can add interesting elements to the meal. It’s fine to eliminate something on your menu if a guest offers to bring something similar. There’s no sense in duplicating and costs.
Be Creative When It Comes to Libations
One of the more expensive additions to any festive event is beverages, especially alcohol. It’s perfectly fine to provide beer and wine and ask guests to bring their own if they want something special. Alternatively, choose a couple of beverages such as Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas, which can be served very economically. For non-drinking guests, make up some batches of water infused with lemon and mint, strawberries, or cucumbers.
More importantly, take your guests up on their offers to bring bottles of wine or favorite beers. Be prepared to tell your guests what’s needed when they ask, so you know what to expect. Bottom line: the beverages don’t need to break the bank; planning can make all the difference.
When It Comes to Decorations, Less Is More
The last thing you need to spend a lot of money on is decorations. While it’s always nice to have a few holiday touches around the house, going overboard with decorations is a good way to bust the budget. For a Thanksgiving event, for example, pick up a few potted mums at Trader Joe’s or shop sale items at the wholesale clubs after Halloween when many decorations go on sale. If you have a wooded area near you, take a walk and pick up a few pine cones or cut a few fall branches. Check our grocery stores for inexpensive gourds, or use some pretty pieces of fruit in your arrangement. These can make wonderful, natural decorations and arrangements. You can look for simple decorating ideas on sites such as Pinterest. By keeping it simple, you can create a beautiful, easy, and elegant look for your party without overspending.
Get The Party Started
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your holiday party to have fun and put on a beautiful event. Besides, blowing up your bank account during the holiday season is never a good idea! With a little creativity and planning, your holiday party can be an enjoyable day that’s remembered by you and your guests for many years to come.