6 Ways to Save on Holiday Costs

holiday spending

The holidays are here! It's that time of year to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives including spending time enjoying a delicious holiday meal in the company of loved ones.

Between the traditional holiday foods as well as all the preparations and decorations, hosting the holidays can be quite expensive. We have put together a list of recommendations to help you save on holiday costs this year, without compromising the quality and festivity of your meal.

1) Confirm the Number of Guests

Before you start putting together a shopping list, make sure you have an accurate headcount of the guests who will be joining for the holiday meal. This will help you determine your menu, from the size of the turkey or ham to the number of side dishes. With a little planning, you can prevent yourself from overbuying and spending extra money.

2) Take Inventory of What You Already Have

Before you head out to the grocery store, check to see if you already have any of the food, ingredients, and other items on your shopping list. Scope out your pantry, cabinets, basement, or anywhere else you store food, decorations, and dinnerware. Every item on your list that you find in your home is one less item that you will have to buy.

3) Make it a Potluck

Share the expense of the holiday by answering an enthusiastic "yes" to every guest who asks if they can bring something. After all, sharing is caring! Going the potluck route is a great way to add a variety of dishes to your table. To make sure you have everything you need for the delicious holiday meal, keep track of what each guest is offering to bring so you know what additional items to pick up at the store.

4) DIY Décor

With a little imagination, you can set a beautiful holiday table while staying on a budget. A few dollar store purchases can make for beautiful place settings, like colored vases, artificial flower arrangements, and other crafty centerpieces. Look for easy, inexpensive DYI (do-it-yourself) ideas online. You can even use things from around your house — or yard — as your décor. For instance, you can design an autumn-themed centerpiece with leaves and pinecones from your own yard.

5) Look for Sales

Plan your menu for the holidays several weeks in advance so you can take advantage of any store sales. It's always a good idea to look in the circulars and shop around for the best deals. Supermarkets usually put out a weekly or monthly flyer with specials, sales, and new items.

6) Cook from Scratch

Homemade is almost always better in price. Plus, you can't beat the deliciousness of a homemade meal or dessert. Think lasagna, brisket, potato casserole, and apple pie. Start your cooking well enough in advance so you don't find yourself relying on too many store-bought prepared foods that tend to be more expensive and may not be as good as yours.

When you gather around the table with family and friends this holiday season, you can be especially thankful that you were able to save in the preparation. All it takes is a little planning!