Stretching your food budget during the holidays is a major concern to families in the midst of the Great Recession. With more than 1 million foreclosures in 2010, it makes sense to be careful with your food budget. There are several points that you can use to start saving immediately.
- Buy a smaller turkey or duck.
- Get vegetables at farmer’s markets whenever possible.
- Purchase cakes and desserts at restaurant food stores. These foods offer discounts for those buying in bulk and the quality of the food is exquisite.
- Go to bulk retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club for sides like stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce, or other items you might purchase in bulk.
- Get beverages on sale or use powder-based beverages to save money.
- Use salty water to stretch ice purchases
Each of these tips is important and can produce savings for your holiday event. The reality is that most families are left with copious amounts of turkey, duck or meat after Christmas and Thanksgiving. That means that most of us cook too much meat. While we don’t immediately realize this as a waste of money, it becomes one three days later when we throw out a carcass that still has pounds of meat remaining on it. Needless to say this is probably the biggest form of physical waste in our kitchens after Christmas and Thanksgiving. The average savings with this method per event is $5.00 dollars.
Vegetables and fruit are another big waste around the house during Christmas. They have a high cost and depending on your location, they can be as much as 33% of the cost of your meal. So going to a market or finding discounts on these items is important. The average savings with this method per event is $14.00 dollars.
Another hidden cost behind our meals is dessert. Most of us don’t think about it, but a typical caramel apple pie is between $7 – $10 dollars. How many pies will the average household have for Christmas? It varies per household, but if your home had 5 pies of various types, you could have spent $50 – $70 dollars on pies. The average savings with this method per event is $10.00 dollars.
Going to bulk food retailers is a great move. Some examples are that companies like Costco or Sam’s Club routinely sell 20-pound turkeys for about $3 – $4 dollars less than neighborhood grocers. Your local grocer usually isn’t the best place to get significant savings during this season. You should shop at least 2 – 3 weeks before your big event and use coupons for items you can’t get in bulk or at a food dealer’s establishment. The average savings with this method per event is $12.00.
Using powder-based drinks has some surprising savings. You can take a single tub of Crystal Light and make almost 2 liters of beverage. This means that for roughly $3.49, you can provide about 8 liters of beverage for visitors. The average savings using this method is about $7.00 per event.
You can add salt to the water in coolers to chill water faster for serving beverages. This also reduces the amount of ice you must purchase for a party. The average savings with this method is $2.00 per event.
These savings opportunities are great ways to stretch your food budget during the holidays. Take some time and make use of these tactics to maximize your overall holiday party savings.
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