Thanksgiving. Christmas Dinner. Holiday Parties. Seasonal baking. For most of us, food plays a starring roll in our holiday festivities. We all have our favorites, that certain special dish we only eat once a year. Without it Christmas or Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same.
Oh, the pressure.
And while our mouths start watering at the mere thought of golden roasted turkey & homemade apple pie, the cost of food, especially when combined with all of the other expenses this time of year, can be a serious strain on your budget. Even scarier, it is often one of those “hidden” expenses that we don’t account for when we think about holiday spending. Our focus tends to be on the big things like gifts & travel, but left unchecked, a holiday food budget can easily spiral out of control.
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But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little forethought, you can still prepare all your favorite dishes and bake to your heart’s content without going broke. The key is planning ahead and then taking advantage of the amazing grocery sales & coupons that are available this time of year.
If you wait until the last minute to buy the things you need, you will probably end up spending more. The store sales are starting NOW, which means you’ve got to get your game face on and come up with a plan of attack. The best thing to do is to spend some time figuring out all the food dishes you will need to make this holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Eve. Be sure to include holiday meals, baking, and any entertaining you plan to do.
Once you’ve got your menu in place, create a “master list” of all the ingredients you will need between now and January 1st. Then you can shop the grocery sales each week & buy the items that you need when they are on sale, not right when you need them!
If you haven’t yet printed the free LWSL Holiday Planner, be sure to do that right away. Along with priority setting, budget planning, & gift planning, there are pages to help you plan your menu and your master grocery list.
Grocery Sales & Coupons
If there were ever a time to start using coupons, it is November and December! The grocery store promotions AND the available coupons are just so good this time of year. Food manufacturers want you to buy their brands and they are going out of their way to reel you in.
As I explained in this post on how to cut your grocery bill in half, smart shopping starts with shopping the sales, not by using coupons, so if trying to plan ahead AND shop the sales AND use coupons is just too much for you, just focus on taking advantage of the many, many in-store promotions happening each week.
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That said, to really maximize your savings you will want to add coupons to the mix. If you’ve never used them before, the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons is a great place to start, and the week 2 lesson is especially helpful for learning how to match coupons to the store sales.
To give you an idea of how great the sales are this time of year, as well as what sort of sales and promotions you should be looking out for, I thought it would be helpful to do a little video: