Saving money during the holidays may seem like an impossibility. Each holiday season seems to usher in more and more extravagance. Saving money on your holiday meals is not as difficult as it may seem, however. By following a few simple tips, you can slash your food bill for the holiday season.
The first, and most obvious, tip is to shop sales. Every grocery store and food specialty shop has a sale rotation, and during the holidays, whole birds such as turkeys and geese go on sale in early November. In December, you can find prime rib, hams, and a number of fancy roasts that are perfect for the holiday table. Don’t buy your bird or roast the week before the big feast; the best prices on holiday meats typically comes two to three weeks before the holiday. Even fixings and side items tend to go on sale a week or more in advance, so purchase your non-perishables such as holiday wines, stuffing mixes, and spices early to save the most money.
The next tip is a little less intuitive. If you live in a city that has a university, check the university website to determine if they have a “meat lab” or a “meat market.” while these terms sound more appropriate for a scientific experiment or a bar, they are really butcher shops that are typically run by the agriculture department at the university. You may be able to find holiday meats, sides, and even desserts and gift baskets for a fraction of the price you would pay in a retail store. Best of all, you are supporting the university and the agriculture students.
If you have a little time on your hands, saving money is easy with coupons. Manufacturers of prepared foods and spices often issue big value coupons during the holidays. Check your local newspaper’s Sunday edition as well as coupon websites, online coupon clubs, and manufacturer websites for valuable coupons for everything from sugar to holiday teas and dessert mixes.
Finally, you may be able to save money by going right to the source. Local ranches and farms often sell their wares directly, and you may be able to purchase everything from farm-fresh eggs to grass-fed beef for much less than you would pay elsewhere. Shopping locally also supports area farmers and ranchers, which is a direct benefit to your community.
Saving money on holiday meals is possible if you are willing to investigate the possibilities. use the money you save to purchase your gifts, to treat yourself, or even to help a local charity during the holiday season. The choice is entirely yours!