How to be the host with the most without draining the bank
Hosting a holiday meal can be stressful. While it’s great to open your home to family and friends, feeding a crowd can put a serious strain on your budget. Fortunately, it’s possible to be a great host while providing a holiday dinner on a budget. Try these three handy holiday budgeting tips to keep from breaking the bank:
The first step in personal finance is to make a plan. The plan should identify your needs and how you intend to meet them. For a meal, include what you intend to serve and anything else you need to make your guests comfortable.
The earlier you start making your plan, the better. Having a plan in place lets you take advantage of rotating grocery specials. That will allow you to incorporate more seasonal produce, so you can cook a better-tasting and more nutritious meal at a better price. A plan will help you when cooking on a budget while not having to put big meal expenses on credit cards. The memories of a wonderful family meal should stick around for years; a debt to pay for it all should not!
The sheer volume of tasks that go along with hosting a holiday meal can quickly become overwhelming. Beyond the meal, you need to clean the house, decorate and stock your house with essentials, like hand soap and toilet paper.
Separate tasks you need to do from the tasks that can be done by someone else. While you may do most of the cooking, outsource the meal planning to a family member. Give them the guest list and ask them to help you come up with recipes that will satisfy the crowd. Get kids in the holiday spirit by having them make decorations. By delegating responsibilities, you make the task of planning a wonderful time more manageable. This decreases the temptation to find a quick, easy and potentially expensive solution at the last minute. Budgets tend to explode most often when there’s a serious time crunch. Avoid that crunch by getting help wherever you can.
While everyone loves a holiday roast, cuts of beef big enough to serve an entire family can be costly. Instead, look for seasonal specialties, like spiral cut ham. You can also get good prices on turkey breast or whole chicken. If you have time, slow-cooking affordable cuts of pork will satisfy taste buds at a lower price. A smoker is best for this process, but a standard grill can work in a pinch.
You can use the same home-cooking ingenuity to save on side dishes. When cooking on a budget, use inexpensive and filling root vegetables to feed a crowd without breaking the bank. Rubbing parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes or carrots with salt and pepper before throwing them in the oven for 40 minutes on medium heat can turn ordinary produce into delicious sides. Serve these instead of more expensive, less nutritious canned or frozen vegetables.
Finally, remember that guests often like to share. Ask them to bring desserts or sides This will save you both time and money.
The best things about the holiday are free. Making memories with friends and family is more important than how much food you put on the table. Your guests will remember the shared experience of the holidays more than what you served. Happy holidays!
We can help you prep dinner on a budget
If you’d like to start planning for the 2019 holidays, now is the time to start! Open a Holiday Club Savings Account, and use the money for gift buying and meal planning. We also have fast-cash loans to get you through the holiday season with ease. If you’d like more holiday budgeting tips, contact us or call 888-554-2328, ext. 280.