Having family and friends over for the holidays can be stressful. We want the house to be spotless, the guests to eat well and the atmosphere to be magical. And all this without sacrificing money! What if someone took a weight off your shoulders and suggested tips to reduce costs?
The first step is to plan your budget. Although it can be dull, it is essential to get down to the task in order to set a maximum amount to spend. This amount must include the meal, alcohol and decoration. One trick to avoid cheating is to withdraw the exact amount in cash and leave your credit cards at home. Now that your budget is done, here are our tips!
Know how to spot the real deals
Just because it says on the label that turkey, potatoes or carrots are on sale does not mean that this price is the lowest available. How to recognize when an item is really cost-effective, besides being experienced? Reviewing the flyers of the various grocery stores is an excellent way to do this. This will allow you to compare. If you do not receive the flyers at home, you can use any of the free apps that compile all the discounts. Just enter one or more keywords (ham, cheddar cheese...) and you will know where to find the product at the lowest price. The app is based on the current flyers. Then, all you have to do is go to the grocery store in question or ask for an unbeatable price in a market that offers this possibility.
Prefer a buffet-style menu
To save money, there's nothing better than a buffet! Garnish the table with more refined small bites and appetizers (Brie cheese and crackers, shrimp spread, lamb skewers, cold cuts...) or inexpensive ones (stuffed eggs, corn chips with salsa, legume salads, potato salad, baguette bread, various pâtés...). This is an tasty table that didn't cost a fortune!
Add a vegan dish
Vegan food is often more affordable because dairy products and meat are expensive. For example, meat in meat pies can be substituted with PVT (textured vegetable protein). Guests won't see through it! Or make a seitan "ham", a lesser-known but delicious vegetable protein. There are several other holiday vegan recipes available online. Have fun discovering them!
Decorate with creativity
There is no need to buy the very latest placemats or silk napkins. Decorating your table can be done easily. For example, use surrounding nature to make a centerpiece by placing tree branches and pine cones in Masson jars. Sprinkle with icing sugar for snow and surround each container with a pretty red ribbon. You could also use candles or light strings placed here and there in the house to create a pleasant atmosphere. Let your creativity speak for itself! It is also a great idea to buy second-hand decorations.
Are there not enough seats? Don't buy extra!
It is not uncommon for seating to be limited during major celebrations. Some guests will buy folding chairs specifically for the occasion... and will never use them again! So it is an unnecessary expense. It is best to ask the guests if they can bring some. Don't be embarrassed! Most will be delighted to be able to contribute to the success of the event.
Dare to make punch!
Usually, guests bring their own drinks. It's an unwritten rule. But it is better to be prepared and plan at least two glasses of wine per guest. Also, preparing a large punch can be economical, especially if you don't drink much alcohol. To make it all look better, you can decorate the bowl or glasses in the spirit of the holiday season.
Propose to your guests to participate
In the past, it was inconceivable to receive and ask guests for a contribution. It was seen as rude. But times have changed! It is normal to plan a potluck dinner where everyone brings a meal. So, dare to ask!
We hope that your evening will be one of fun... and savings!