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Prepare an Affordable Holiday Dinner

Host Your Family's Holiday Dinner Without Busting Your Budget


Hosting a holiday dinner for your extended family can be quite expensive. Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, use the following tips to save money, as well as time, on your holiday dinner celebration:
  1. Plan your holiday dinner menu several weeks ahead of time. You'll probably want to serve two or three side dishes, as well some type of rolls and a special holiday dessert.

  2. Ask each of your guests to bring one side dish. For example, mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time and kept warm in a crock pot. Carrots, dinner rolls, and vegetable casseroles are also items that can easily be prepared ahead of time and warmed in the microwave.

  3. Make a list of the items you need to purchase at the grocery store. Go ahead and do this now, so that you can make your purchases over the course of several different weeks, as you see specific items go on sale.

  4. For several weeks before your holiday dinner, try to prepare all of your evening meals using ingredients you already have in your pantry or freezer. Use the money you save to stock up on the things you need to purchase for your holiday dinner.

  5. If you plan to serve alcohol, ask your guests to pitch in. Buying everyone's favorite drinks can be expensive. Save money by asking your guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages or asking the adults to consider bringing a bottle of wine to share.

  6. Consider pairing up with a friend to share some of the cooking responsibilities and cut down on costs. For example, if you both double one make-ahead dessert or side dish, you can swap the extras before your guests arrive. This will save you both time and money.

  7. Finally, be realistic about your expectations. More important than an expensive, perfectly prepared meal is the connections you share with your friends and family. Focus on having fun together during your holiday dinner, and no one will ever guess that what the event would cost you was ever on your mind!

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