Food and the holidays go hand in hand. Sometimes that grocery bill begins to skyrocket the closer we get to the holidays. Here are 10 kitchen tips to help you be frugal this Christmas season, you will be happy with the money savings that you see.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
This is the number one thing you can do in the kitchen. Plan out your menu for the holidays well in advance. Plan your weekly menus carefully leading up to the holidays, too. You can save a lot of money by sticking to a carefully planned out menu.
2. Take stock.
Check your freezer and check your pantry. Know what you have in both. Not only will it prevent you from over buying for your holiday meal, but you can also plan out your weekly menu with what’s left in your freezer and pantry. That will cut down on your weekly grocery bill, allowing you to spend money on your holiday menu. Perhaps challenge yourself with the Pantry Meal Challenge.
3. Make smart purchases.
Buying in bulk and buying what’s on sale will be huge savings in your kitchen. Stocking up early will help you, too. Adding an extra bag of flour to your weekly grocery shopping here and there isn’t going to be such a big hit on your weekly shopping budget.
4. Make lists.
Live with lists: lists of what you have on hand; lists of what you need to get; lists of how much you are spending. Keep them up to date and stick to them. This will be your lifeline in the kitchen, so utilize your lists carefully.
Set a budget and don’t falter from it at all. Have a budget for your holiday spending and a budget for your weekly spending.
6. Store brand shop.
More often than not, store brand is cheaper than name brand. And here’s a little secret – many of your store brand products are made by the name brand company. So you are literally just paying for the label when you buy name brand.
7. Organize your pantry.
Keep your holiday foods separate and do not touch these items for anything but your holiday cooking. If you figure out exactly how much flour you need, you can measure it out and then what’s left in your pantry is what you have to cook your daily meals with. And if you have something your family might be tempted to attack, then make sure it’s hidden and they don’t know about it. Not too hidden that you forget where you put it, though.
8. Freeze ahead.
Make some of your holiday meals in advance. If there’s a really good sale on potatoes, but you are worried they won’t stay good until your holiday meal, then cook in advance and freeze. Getting pumpkins and making puree and freezing it will save you money for that pumpkin pie you need to make.
9. Decorate frugally.
Use what you have at home to decorate with. Make your own centerpiece for the table. Use your kids’ school art projects on your holiday table. Don’t run out and buy a new table cloth; just use what you already have. Revamp it to mask stains if you have to. Here a few Old Fashioned Decorating ideas.
10. It’s over! Get started on next year.
There’s nothing better than planning ahead. And taking advantage of the after-holiday sales will save you tons of money. So you don’t have to get creative with your stained tablecloth next year; instead you can buy one during an after-Christmas sale and save tons of money that way. Get napkins and paper plates cheap and store them with your Christmas items. This way when the Christmas stuff comes out for decorating the rest of the house, you’ll find these things and will have a head start on your holiday shopping.