My fiance and I are hosting Christmas this year, which for me means that my mom and stepdad are driving from my home town to spend the week with us, and my aunt is coming from about an hour away to feast. Sometimes my close friend will join us for the holidays, and sometimes she stays behind.
We hosted Easter as well, and my cousin and her family dropped in to celebrate with us, too. By our estimate for Christmas, we’ll be feeding between 6-10 people.
Being that we are getting married in seven short months, which will be funded by my fiance and I alone, we want to cut costs wherever we can (without sacrificing quality) so we aren’t in a tight financial position as the wedding costs start accumulating.
I love entertaining guests, and cooking is no exception. For Easter, we were able to cut the cost of our dinner by doing some things that we will repeat for Christmas:
I am normally not a fan of bulk shopping at places like Costco. Being that there are only two of us in our household, we never use up bulk groceries before they go bad, making it a wasteful endeavour.
My coworker is also hosting her Christmas dinner, so we are teaming up to go shopping at Costco together. We’ll be purchasing everything except for the turkey in bulk (brussell sprouts, potatoes, cranberry sauce or fresh cranberries, bread for stuffing, etc) and then dividing it so that none goes to waste.
This allows us to cash in on the savings without watching our money go in the garbage by food waste.
Previous to this year, we’ve spent Christmas at my mother’s house, and her and I make dinner together. We always serve the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, brussell sprouts, roasted carrots, beats, and another vegetable.
There tends to be a ton of leftovers, and I suspect that many of them are wasted because they can’t eat them all. There is so much left over even after she sends me and my brother home with enough to last us for days.
Instead of serving several vegetables, we may just serve one or two. That way we won’t waste, and it will be less expensive than serving a wide range.
Asking Guests to Bring Something
My aunt usually brings the dessert, which is a nice break because not only does it save us money, but it also saves us the time to have to make one.
We’re asking our other guest to bring a bottle of wine so we can all share it over dinner.
If you are hosting, you’ll likely be providing most of the food, but there is no harm in asking somebody to bring dinner rolls, appetizers, wine, or dessert to save yourself work and money.
Be sure to find out what they are bringing before hand so that you don’t duplicate. There have been many years when a guest has brought a dessert, and we have made one so there is a lot of waste and duplication. Though I’m not complaining about more dessert!
I’m not a huge fan of boxed, canned, or frozen food. I find boxed mashed potatoes to be unappetizing and I’d prefer to make my own cranberry sauce.
Luckily, this preference also saves me some cash. It’s cheaper to buy potatoes than a box or two, and mash them yourself. It’s also much more tasty.
We find that when we buy canned cranberry sauce, we end up throwing away a lot of it. We have started buying cranberries and making an easy cranberry sauce, then canning what we have left over for the next year (or for Thanksgiving the following year). It actually saves over the year.
We are really excited to host our first Christmas, especially on the cheap. What are you doing to keep costs down? Are you hosting or being a guest this year?