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Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Holiday Dinner

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Who doesn’t love holidays? It is the time to bring together entire family, show gratitude and love each other. This ultimate guide to saving money shows you how to stop being wasteful with your finances and instead show gratitude. 

Did you know that based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics study, our food is the 3rd largest household expense? If you don’t want to go over your budget during holidays, then you need to plan accordingly. Follow this guide to saving money and be grateful what you already have.

guide to saving money

The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Holiday Dinner

If you live in the US and celebrate Thanksgiving, then you know how pricey can the holiday be. Sooner than you realize we are already celebrating Christmas. It is no surprise that so many families are unable to stick to their budget.

# 1 Don’t Forget What the Holiday Is REALLY About

We tend to be so busy with all the organizing, work and holiday shopping that we forget what holidays are truly about. Enjoy family time. Show gratitude. Share love.

Use this FREE Weekly Gratitude Sheet, you can Download it here.

guide to saving money

Fill it out daily and print it out to every family member. Sit down and write down what you are most grateful for. Do it together! 

Show you care. Show #Gratitude. FREE Weekly Gratitude sheet for instant download. @FinWiseOnHeels Click To Tweet

# 2 Use Monthly Budget Plan and Plan Ahead by Creating “Holiday Fund”

You can use this free monthly budget plan to create your monthly budget plan. It is important to plan ahead and to be realistic. If you follow this guide to saving money and are honest when budgeting, you will be able to stick to your budget.

In your monthly budget plan, create another expense row and name it “Holiday Fund.” Treat your holiday fund as an expense, then it is easier to save. Calculate the amount you need to save weekly to reach your goal. If you are having trouble saving enough, you might need to earn some extra. Check out these more than 100 options to make extra money from home. If you lack of inspiration to get started, you should empower yourself with Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference.

If you are new to budgeting, you can learn budgeting 101 and goal setting here.

# 3 Use Your Calculator

Don’t forget to take your calculator with you when you go to the grocery store. It makes it easier to find the better deal when comparing price per pound versus price per ounce.

# 4 Be Sure to Check Out Manager’s Special Deals

Did you know that you can save 30-75% with those? These items are typically getting ready to expire.

# 5 Get Familiar with Your Grocery Store Mark Down Routine

Where do you shop the most? Many grocery stores mark down majority of their fresh items. These typically include dairy, meat and produce. You can expect to pay only around 30 to 50% of what your grocery store normally charges. Many stores do it between 7:30 and 8 am, but it depends on a store.

# 6 Use Great Deals for Decorations

When looking for new table cloth, candle holders and other beautiful decorating items for your dinner table, never pay the full price. You can go to your closest thrift store and find some great items. If you are busy and prefer to shop online, only buy when items are on sale. This saves you lots of cash. Wayfair has always great sales up to 70% off and you can get a table cloth as cheap as $7. Their holiday wishlist can be very helpful if you want to save big.

# 7 Get Creative and Use the Items You Already Have

Take two hours to check out your cabinets, storage and garage whether there is something you haven’t used for a while. If you haven’t used something for a while, it is always refreshing. Or perhaps you can just match several items that you use daily basis. Remember, the holiday is mostly about family, and not about spending.

# 8 Keep It Simple

Chances are you already have some plastic cups or even a plastic dinner table cloth
that you haven’t used yet. Keep it simple and don’t overspend on items you will never use again. Minimalism has its beauty.

# 9 Keep Your Monthly Costs Low

Don’t forget to be financially savvy and keep your monthly costs low during holiday season as well. Unplug your appliances or use your energy saving surge protector to keep your bills low. The amount you save monthly bases can be added to your “Holiday Fund.”

# 10 Don’t Be Afraid of Coupons

Couponing can be scary, but it really isn’t that difficult. Check out these options below. If these coupons are available in your neighborhood, you can either print them out or load them onto your grocery store loyalty card.

 # 11 Master Grocery Shopping with Grocery University

If you are really looking for a guide to saving money on your groceries, Grocery University is a way to go. This one time investments pays off faster than you think. Holidays always require more investment into food, therefore making smart choices during that time can save you big.

# 12 Always Get Your Cash Back

If you don’t earn cash back, you are leaving money on the table. Ibotta doesn’t charge anything to sign up and can save you more money than you think. Apps such as Checkout51 or SavingsStar can be very rewarding as well.

# 13 Only Use Cash When Going to the Store

When you go to the grocery, make sure you only take cash with you. If you have made a list for holiday dinner, taking only cash with you can help. You are less likely to spend more than you planned.

# 14 Be Aware of Rain Check

Don’t forget to ask your grocery store for a rain check if a sale product you wanted to purchase is currently out of stock. Rain check grants you the discounted price when the item is back in stock regardless of whether the promotion is still running or not.

# 15 Use the Benefits of MyGroceryDeals

Create account at MyGroceryDeals and then add your grocery items there. The great thing about it is the fact it searches online different grocery ads, and shows you stores of your items and of course the price. You can either text the list to your cell phone or just email it to you.

# 16 Skip as Many Aisles as Possible

Make sure you skip entire aisles if there is nothing on an aisle that you need for your holiday dinner table. It helps to reduce temptation and emotional purchases. Besides, avoiding those aisles will also speed up your shopping.

# 17 Don’t Fall Into the Eye-Level Trap

Did you know that grocery stores often place overpriced products at eye level on the right-hand sides of the aisles? Try to avoid those emotional purchases.

# 18 Be Aware of Sold Aisles

Sometimes grocery stores may sell some end of the aisle areas to different companies so they can promote a particular item. Make sure you are aware of those endcap display deals when shopping for your holiday dinner.

# 19 Don’t Be Afraid of Store Brands

When you are looking for options to save money for holiday dinner, then checking out your local grocery store brand items is a great way to save.

# 20 Don’t Underestimate the Drugstore in Your Area

You might want to check out whether your local drugstore carries some products you are looking to purchase for your holiday dinner. You can be pleasantly surprised, because often there can be some great deals for around 40% off the grocery store price on things you you need for your dinner.

# 21 Double Check Your Payments

Don’t forget to double check your receipt so you can be sure you have not been charged extra. Once in a while items don’t get correctly scanned or are even mislabeled.

# 22 Compare the Prices of Items You Want to Use for Dinner

Use price comparison list and choose the items you are going to use for your holiday dinner. Be sure to go to least three grocery stores in your area to write down and compare the prices.

Ultimate Guide to #Saving Money on #Holiday Dinner shows you exactly how to reduce expenses. @FinWiseOnHeels Click To Tweet

# 23 Create Holiday Meal Plan Based on What’s on Sale

Check out what is on sale and create your holiday dinner plans based on that. No reason to pay extra for the higher price item.

Read the full post of 15 other great tips how to save on Thanksgiving Dinner here.

guide to saving money on thanksgiving


What would you add to the guide to saving money? Which tip did you find the most helpful? Share in comments below!
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22 Comments on Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Holiday Dinner

  1. Alyssa
    04/11/2015 at 12:32 pm (1 year ago)

    So practical and useful tips. Unfortunately we always end up in a small credit card debt during the holidays.. have to change something this year. Thank you!

    • Reelika
      04/11/2015 at 1:06 pm (1 year ago)

      Holidays definitely can take a huge bite of your paycheck. Glad you found these practical, Alyssa!

  2. Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income
    04/11/2015 at 4:22 pm (1 year ago)

    I love holiday food, especially Thanksgiving. I enjoy the food and family more than the holiday and toys. We always have a big get together and everyone brings part of dinner and then we clear it off to play basketball. So we don’t eat a lot so we can play, then we have leftovers for a week! Holidays are great, but definitely don’t want to ruin them by spending too much money.
    Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…Extreme Saving: How to Save Half of Your MoneyMy Profile

    • Reelika
      04/11/2015 at 5:17 pm (1 year ago)

      I can totally relate, Lance. I just love love love holidays and it is always very important to us to gather and spend quality time together.

    • Reelika
      04/11/2015 at 6:50 pm (1 year ago)

      That’s true, it can be quite expensive!

  3. Shirria
    05/11/2015 at 1:17 pm (1 year ago)

    These are great tips! I don’t host holiday dinner but my dish contribution is expensive (baked macaroni and cheese). The only item I can usually get on sale is the noodles way before hand. I will be using the worksheet. I think I’m going to give it to my children so that they can begin to think beyond getting good gifts!
    Shirria recently posted…4 things I’m doing for a Successful NovemberMy Profile

    • Reelika
      05/11/2015 at 1:56 pm (1 year ago)

      That’s great, Shirria!

  4. Erin @ Journey to Saving
    05/11/2015 at 7:00 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m very lucky that I don’t have to host any of the holidays. I moved away from home last year, and my parents are the only family nearby, so we just go there! I do help where I can, though. We go against tradition as a turkey would be far too big for us, and just have lasagna. It’s a step above regular pasta and a meal everyone loves. I’m all about remembering what the holidays are really about.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…Being Grateful: Seventy-Eighth EditionMy Profile

    • Reelika
      06/11/2015 at 8:50 am (1 year ago)

      Yes, it is all about what the holidays are really about!

  5. Holly@ClubThrifty
    06/11/2015 at 8:43 am (1 year ago)

    My family does a big, pitch-in style dinner. It helps everyone save money because we each bring a dish or two but get to enjoy all of it. We also figure out who is bring what ahead of time so there are no duplicates!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Sometimes, It’s the Little ThingsMy Profile

    • Reelika
      06/11/2015 at 8:51 am (1 year ago)

      That’s a great idea, Holly :)

    • Reelika
      09/11/2015 at 2:43 pm (1 year ago)

      Freezer is definitely helpful, Kristy :)

    • Reelika
      10/11/2015 at 11:05 pm (1 year ago)

      That’s a great idea, Jen :)

    • Reelika
      12/11/2015 at 9:42 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you :)

  6. Chonce
    12/11/2015 at 8:57 pm (1 year ago)

    Great tips! I started setting aside money for the holidays a few months ago just so I wouldn’t feel the financial strain. For Christmas I decided to cook a delicious cultural dish that costs at least $100 to make. To budget that expense in, my fiance and I are splitting the costs of the meal and started setting aside money this month so it won’t seem like a big expense because it will definitely be worth it :)
    Chonce recently posted…How I Save Money on the Unexpected Costs of Raising a ChildMy Profile

    • Reelika
      13/11/2015 at 12:55 am (1 year ago)

      That’s a great idea, Chonce :)

    • Reelika
      15/11/2015 at 2:20 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you!


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