Every year as the holiday season approaches, millions of Americans start planning their festivities, from choosing and decorating their Christmas tree, shopping for gifts, making travel arrangements, and more. Another thing they plan for is a holiday menu, whether it be for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or both. Grocery planning for the holidays is a valuable way to ensure you don’t go over budget with your overall spending, as it can be often overlooked.
Before you begin to plan out your holiday feast, here are a few tips on how cut your grocery budget this season so you can have a stress-free holiday:
- Start planning ahead of time. Waiting until the day before you shop to plan your holiday menu can lead to you spending more than you planned to spend. One step you can take first is to look through your pantry and check off what food items you already have – i.e. staples like flour, sugar, cooking oil, and seasoning and spices. Check online and hold onto any mailers you might receive for coupons and discounts at local grocery stores. If you don’t already have a menu in mind, you can plan it around these great deals, and also around the ingredients currently in your pantry or freezer.
- Don’t hesitate to buy store-brand items. We all have brands to which we’re loyal. But if you’re interested in saving money, check out generic or store-brand items; name-brand items can be overinflated in price as people often buy them for the brand recognition. If you have a preferred brand when it comes to an item you want on your menu, don’t be afraid to give the store-brand a shot – you might be surprised!
- Make a list and stick to it. Once you’ve got your menu planned out, make a list of all the ingredients you need to buy for each recipe – and stick to it. During the holidays it can be incredibly easy to give into temptation when it comes to your favorite Christmas goodies, but you should stick to your guns and avoid the aisles carrying guilty pleasure food.
- How about a potluck? If you’re planning for a good sized group for Thanksgiving or Christmas, perhaps suggest a potluck where everyone can chip in and bring a side, or dessert, or even paper plates or utensils – and as the host, you can plan for the main dish. This is a great way to share your favorite holiday foods with your family and friends, and also an excellent way to save money for everyone.