My Kitchen To Yours is a book born out of My own frustration in people…
Hey, frenns! It is almost time for the holidays, and this is about the time that you start prepping and planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As costs and prices are getting higher for everyone, it’s important to think of some ways to save money as a host.
I’ve hosted major holidays and events at my house, and it can get really costly. I am the consummate planner and approach everything with a list (or two or three). Hosting does not have to break the bank, and there are a few things I’ve learned over the years that can help you save money as a host. I’m going to share those tips below:
- Write your list according to your menu. A lot of times, people think of the holidays and just think, “I’m cooking the usual.” But if you are cooking the usual- what is that? In order to plan your list, write out your menu first, then write out your list according to your menu. I’ll give an example below. Here’s a link you can use to write out your own menu/grocery list.
- Menu Item: Turkey Ingredients: turkey; turkey seasoning
By writing out your menu and then writing out your ingredients,
you’re able to compare it to what you have on hand and determine
from there, what you might need to purchase.
Account for the number of people. I know that this can be more fluid for many people, but it’s at least good to know on a general level- approximately how many people are coming- that can help you plan your menu accordingly. For the most part, I look at each adult or teenager as two plates per person and an additional one for them to take home. For example, if you’re planning to host ten people- plan enough food for 15-20 (not everyone will eat everything more than once). That way, you won’t run out of food, but you also won’t have too many leftovers.
- Account for dietary restrictions: If you’re hosting and there will be some vegetarians, then they shouldn’t be counted in the “meat” consumption count. If people have allergies and require a separate dish, then you would make a smaller portion and not enough for every guest.
- Involve other people. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I like to cook mostly everything. But- if you’re eating with a group of people- it would save money if you apportioned the responsibility equally. And for the love of everyone there- if you’re assigned to bring a dish- please bring enough of the dish for everyone and not a personal-sized portion. Additionally, even if the host is not asking you to bring anything, it is appropriate and courteous to bring something to their home. I am always appreciative when someone brings items to my home. Whether I eat it or not, it’s one less thing I have to worry about making or cooking.
- Audit your freezer and kitchen cabinets. You should do this step first. Auditing your freezer and kitchen cabinets will inform you of what spices and dishes you may already have on hand. I do not bake desserts all the time, so some of my spices were only purchased with one recipe in mind. Freshness is certainly a part of that- but make sure that the spice(s) are fresh and not expired.
- Check the sales paper and shop around (if you can). This is around the time where ALL grocery companies are vying for your business. It may be worth it to compare items and purchase accordingly. While you may not save on gas (and time), you may save money in the long run by going to multiple places. I have been known to go to 4 different stores, all in an effort to save money.
- SET A BUDGET. Be realistic about your budget. A lot of time, when you are hosting, you may not initially know how much things will cost (that’s why you should check the sales papers) but also account for items beyond food. You should also include cutlery, plastic wear, tables, and chairs if you need to rent them
- Buy a little bit at a time. One of the ways I save money in the short term is adding items little by little to my regular grocery list that way I’m not overwhelmed with the ticket cost for Thanksgiving.
- Modify your menu. If you have done all of the above and still find yourself beyond your budget- modify your menu. Some substitutions can be done or you can remove an item or items altogether. For example, instead of a whole turkey maybe a turkey breast is the move. Instead of 3 types of greens- stick with one type. Desserts can get pricey when it comes to specialty ingredients- so you may not be able to make that special dish this time OR if you do- you may need to cut another dessert. Or some side dishes are so similar- cut one or the other (potato salad vs. devilled eggs).
Holidays come one time a year. Between buying gifts and hosting you want to save money anyway you can. Add some of your own money saving tips below in the comments.
Make sure you check out my e-book available for purchase: From My Kitchen To Yours