5 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Food
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5 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Food

Posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 at 11:08 am
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Our grocery budget used to go up by several hundred dollars around the holidays. From family entertaining to extra indulgence, the dollars really start to add up. Despite the cost, who wants to have a miserly holiday and watch every penny? The secret is to enjoy all of the extras but to get them at the lowest prices.

Here are some practical tips on how you can save money on holiday food.

Stock Up During Sales

When you store has a great sale on holiday food, stock up on it. Around the holidays, there are wonderful weekly sales on the staples and festive food that make up most holiday tables. Buy extras that you can freeze and use throughout the holiday season. This way you’ll always get your ingredients and your food at the lowest prices.

For example, if ham goes on sale, buy an extra one, cook it, slice it or cube it. Freeze the ham in portions that you will need later.

Get Creative with Convenience Products

Did you know that you could make cinnamon rolls out of pizza dough, use refrigerated biscuits as a casserole topper or cookie mix to make a cake? When you get a good deal on convenience food get creative and use it in other ways. This way you can still enjoy holiday favorites without paying more than you want to pay.

Combine Coupons with Sales

You’ll get the most savings when you practice store match up. Match current coupons with current sales to get double the savings. Stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons for even better deals. Do this every time, and you’ll get your groceries for 50 percent off or more! You can find out about store deals by following the FreeCoupons blog or doing an Internet search on the store name and the word “match up.”

Resist the Bulk Temptation

While buying in bulk can really save you money, you have to be careful around the holidays. Do you really need 200 chocolate balls or an entire case of gingerbread mix? Be careful about buying seasonal items in bulk, or you may wind up spending a lot of money very quickly. Holiday items tend to be expensive in themselves, and while you may save a little bit by buying in bulk, the cost can be surprisingly expensive.

Make It Almost from Scratch

During the holidays, time seems to be in short supply. Still, if you can make some things from scratch you will automatically save. Find little moments here and there to cook or bake. You don’t have to do it all at once. For example, while supervising the kids with their homework, you might make up a batch of cookie dough to bake later. Or, make your food almost from scratch. You can put together an pie with real apples but use a ready made crust–you’ll still save money over a store bought pie.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.