Big Holiday Meals on a Budget!

imgp8302Now that we’ve gotten through with Halloween, we can start focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means two big family dinners, and most likely, countless other get togethers, potlucks, and shared meals.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare some healthy meals and stay on budget!

Ask for help! Everyone has a dish that they excel at making. Ask friends and family to bring their best dish. It will make everyone feel included and cut down on your budget. Each Thanksgiving, my parents make a turkey, rolls, stuffing and potatoes (I make the gravy as soon as my mom pulls the the turkey out of the roasting pan to rest!). Our guests bring all sorts of other awesome dishes. We all end up stuffing ourselves and taking home tons of leftovers. But the best part is trying all of the great, different dishes! Just make sure that everyone tells you what they are bringing.. You may just end up with 10 green bean casseroles!

Make a Budget and stick to it Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses! If you can’t afford everything that you think you need, just do with what you can afford. Trust me, you don’t NEED 5 different types of dessert!

Shop at discount stores. You all know my love of 99 Cents Only and Grocery Outlet by now, so I shouldn’t have to remind you, but don’t forget to shop at discount stores too! You’ll find all kinds of deals! I love starting my weekly shopping trip at 99 Cents Only. While they don’t accept coupons, I frequently find great deals on produce from name brands like Dole, Del Monte, Foxy, Driscolls, and Earthbound Organics! Check your local stores websites to see what’s on sale before you leave home.

Stretch your budget with low cost items. Potatoes are usually very inexpensive, so stretch your menu with a tasty, filling potato dish. Despite their bad reputation as being full of carbs, potatoes are also high in vitamin c, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese. Roasted spuds tossed in olive oil and fresh herbs- YUM! Other inexpensive foods this time of year are apples. Apple crisp is one of my favorite dishes. I’ll be posting the recipe later this week!

Don’t forget your coupons! Starting in the next week or so, printable coupon sites (like the ones listed here) and coupon inserts will be peppered with coupons for holiday feast foods. Canned soups, french fried onions, stuffing, pantry staples. And don’t forget rebate/couponing apps (like these) too! You will be saving money left, right, and center!

Prepare food that is in season.  For the fall, that means root veggies, gourds (yeah, that includes pumpkins!), apples, dark leafy greens (think kale, etc.), and for those in warmer climates oranges and pomegranates! Buy meat that is on sale (typically turkey, ham, and prime rib). Tons of baking supplies and pantry staples go on sale in the fall and winter too. Stock up when prices are low- most pantry staples have a long shelf life. It will help you stretch your budget through the spring.

Bake/cook from scratch! Not only is home made food more cost effective and healthier than pre-packaged foods. Bonus- home made baked goods like bread and cookies always taste better, right? Here is my go to beer bread recipe and my families favorite cookie recipe


My favorite: Use what you have on hand!  Before you hit up the stores, write out your menu for these special occasions. Make a list of  ingredients needed for the recipes and check your pantry.  You’d be surprised what you may already have.


I’d love to hear your tips for saving money on food this holiday season!