1. Watch the flyers. Most stores around the holidays will offer
you a free ham or turkey if you spend a certain amount of money during a certain time frame. Many times they don't even require
you to do it in one trip. So just your regular weekly grocery shopping can earn you a free turkey or ham.
2. Make it from scratch. More often than not preparing it yourself
will save you money. Now we know, you're thinking, "But I don't have time." Really, though, boiling potatoes and mashing them
up can be done while doing other things. You can make them ahead and freeze them even. Just don't forget to take them out
ahead of time to thaw.
3. Look for in-season vegetables.
Fresh is cheaper than canned. Frozen is also cheaper than canned, but a little pricier than fresh. As long as they are in
season, you can get a good price and save yourself some money.
4. Make your own desserts. Pre-made crusts are not that expensive and with a few apples and seasoning you
can make an apple pie overflowing with apples for around $5, as opposed to $15 for a not as fresh store-bought pie. You do
5. Save money on the alcoholic beverages
-- wine in particular. You can start out serving the better quality stuff and switch to the cheaper stuff once your guests
have loosened up a bit. They likely won't notice. Store brand soda isn't going to get you barred from ever serving Christmas
dinner again either.
6. Know exactly how
many guests are coming. Having a head count will help you to not over-buy.
7. Cook just enough. Since you know exactly how many people are coming, you can cook enough food
for your guests. Don't plan for leftovers and sending people home with food. While that's nice and all, many times people
are traveling and can't take the food anyways and you're just left with this huge amount of leftovers that you can't possibly
The general rule of thumb for turkey
is figure two pounds for every person. So if you're having eight guests, then a 16-pound turkey should feed everyone nicely.
This is also assuming you're not making a ham or other meat along with it. If you will have a lot of small children, then
they will also probably eat about half that weight in meat.
8. Keep it simple. There's no sense in having a million dishes. While you might want to please everyone, sticking
to the basics is best. If at all possible, have one meat, one starch, and one vegetable. You will appreciate the ease in only
having to cook three things on the big day. Your pocket book will appreciate it too.
9. Make your list and check it twice. Okay, not really; you're not Santa Claus, but
you should stick to your list. No impulse buying, just get what you absolutely need -- nothing more nothing less.
10. Encourage guests to bring a portion of the meal. If someone
is extra good at desserts, then let that family member handle it. Most of your guests will ask if they can bring something,
so take advantage of that. Have a list of possible things you'd like someone else to pick up for you. This could be rolls,
drinks, ice, or whatever will make it easier for you.