Keep Holiday Meals from Gobbling Up Your Budget

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s important to get budgets in order to avoid any added financial stress. From feeding a houseful of guests to hosting seasonal parties, holiday meals quickly take a big bite out of your wallet.Here are some very helpful has tips to cut food spending by as much as half, including:

  Shop early: Turkey becomes more expensive as Thanksgiving nears. Start scouting out deals on frozen birds now to find the best prices, but make sure there is room in the freezer to store it. Calculate how much meat is actually needed to avoid going overboard – one pound of meat per person is plenty.

 Tap into apps for money back: Keep a smartphone handy when shopping for groceries to access coupons and compare prices quickly. For instance, Ibotta offers cash rewards to customers who complete certain shopping activities, Checkout 51 provides rebates on groceries after you submit a picture of a receipt, Favado compares food prices across multiple store circulars, and CouponSherpa offers grocery coupons at your fingertips.

 Stick to generics for basics: When it comes to grocery basics, store brands are often similar in quality and taste to their name-brand counterparts. Opting for the generic version of holiday cooking essentials like spices, seasoning, baking supplies, olive oil, bread, and stuffing will shave around 20 percent off the grocery bill without compromising taste.

 Bake your own sweets: It may be tempting to eliminate baking time by picking up an already made pie, cake, or cookie platter from the local bakery. However, such items represent the biggest markup on prepared foods. Instead, grab a box of brownie, cake, or cookie mix, which costs less than freshly baked goods and doesn’t take as long to make as putting together the treats from scratch.

 Pick up frozen produce: Whether baking a pie or quiche, or whipping up pancakes for breakfast, the ingredient list will likely call for fruits or vegetables. Skip the fresh produce aisle, though, and grab a bag of frozen fruits and veggies to save over 30 percent. Another benefit: No need to worry about fresh foods going bad, and you always have it on hand for last-minute needs!

Tips, cortesy o f BabyCenter financial contributor Andrea Woroch.  More tips from Andrea can be found here


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