Just as with gifts, preparing special and traditional holiday food can be costly and push an individual or family beyond their typical spending. Mary Jo Katras, program leader for family resiliency, shares the following ideas for staying on track.
- Plan ahead. As with any extra purchases outside of normal spending, it is always important to think ahead about the costs and begin saving early.
- Set a savings goal. Estimate the cost of your holiday meals and baking this year. Next, set a savings goal now and start saving.
- Find a deal. Once you know what ingredients you will need for your holiday meals and baking, watch for coupons and for sales for the non-perishable items you will need and purchase these items ahead of time, if possible.
- Make it a potluck. If you are hosting the party, provide the main dish and ask others to bring appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and beverages. Most guests would be more than happy to help out.
- Keep it simple. During any season of celebrating, it is often more about being with others than having expensive elaborate meals.
- Make your own gifts. To help keep your overall holiday spending under control, make your own low-cost food-related gifts. Check out Mix It Up: Food Mixes in a Jar from NDSU Extension Service for some great tasting and creative ideas.
Goals for This Month
- Make a list of food you will need for holiday entertaining.
- Watch for sales on non-perishable foods.
- Try making your own food gifts this year.
Plan ahead, be creative, and shop smart this holiday season. Share your favorite money-saving tip for the holidays in the comments section below.