We all love the holidays – spending time with family and friends over good food is one of life’s pleasures, no doubt – but when you are the host, expenses can add up. Here are a few tried and tested tips from our staff and from VOSKOS® Facebook fans for keeping holiday meal expenses in check:
1. Buy in bulk. Warehouse shopping is not for everyone, but around the holidays, it makes more sense than at any other time during the year. If you buy perishables in bulk, divide them into portions and freeze what you won’t be using immediately.
2. Buy on sale and use coupons. If you’re vigilant, you could end up with products that are almost free, when you combine sales with coupons. Start clipping coupons a couple of weeks before your shopping trip and watch out for sales.
3. Stretch the meal with sides. Veggies and grains are delicious, and generally cost less than meat. By all means roast that turkey, but accompany it with a variety of sides (most can be made in advance and reheated), such as green bean casserole, quinoa pilaf, herbed mashed sweet potatoes and arugula and green bean salad.
4. Ask for help. Thanks to VOSKOS® Facebook fan Mirrissa Purnell for this tip! Mirrissa says, “Everybody brings a dish” – indeed, family and friends will be happy to each bring a dish, so assign a few sides and desserts to guests and focus on the turkey and on just a few sides. This will not just help with the cost of the meal, it will also help reduce your stress, and guests will feel better knowing they took part of the shared meal.
5. Don’t go overboard. A dear friend of mine is a wonderful hostess. She always prepares way too much food (and it’s all delicious!), then at the very last minute she panics, thinking there isn’t enough, and makes a big pot of rice. :) Unless you intentionally want leftovers, resist the temptation to prepare too much food – everyone today is diet-conscious and no one wants to stuff themselves silly anyway.
Remember: the point of holiday meals is spending time with family and friends – not gorging on lots of expensive food.