We are right in the middle of the holiday season with Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and more on the horizon. Feeding the masses may seem daunting, even from a distance. With many Americans feeling stressed over credit card debt, don’t let your holiday mealtime cause any more anxiety. There are several ways to have a joyous and delicious holiday meal that are affordable for you and your family.
Affordable Holiday Meal Ideas
Admission with Appetizer. Have your guests bring appetizers, desserts or side dishes to the holiday meal. This takes the pressure off of you to make and pay for an entire holiday meal. If you have an idea of what you’d like the sides to be, give some guidance to relatives and friends who will be attending. Spreading out the responsibility makes the night affordable for everyone.
Raid Your Pantry. Let your pantry inspire some of your dishes. The key here is to be creative! Rather than picking a recipe that requires you to go purchase ingredients, let the ready-bought ingredients do the talking and keep the meal affordable. Don’t be afraid to use Google and anyone who knows their way around the kitchen to help you.
Seasonal Vegetables. Using seasonal vegetables is a great way to keep your holiday meal affordable. Some vegetables that are in season in December are Brussels sprouts, winter squash, sweet potatoes/yams, spinach, turnips, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. Get a load of this yummy recipe for sweet potatoes that costs roughly 50 cents to $1 per serving. You can limit your meal costs by making the right purchases.
Holiday Meal Trail. Coordinate a shared meal with your neighbors. A few houses can host and serve one part of the meal. Whoever isn’t hosting gets to go around to each house and eat! If you host, you only need to make one thing and eventually you will get to have the rest of the meal. If you aren’t hosting, free food! This is a great way to avoid travel, spend time in your community and have a very affordable holiday meal.
Socialize More Than Eat. Host your holiday meal as an appetizer course. Make it more of a social gathering than a sit-down meal. It can be afternoon tea or a cocktail hour. Portions are smaller, less variety is needed and cost is down to a minimum. This is also an opportunity to highlight a signature beverage: homemade soda, special holiday cocktail or your grandmother’s famous punch.
Holiday Budget Is Key
Remember, there is no need to impress anyone with a lavish holiday meal. Stick to your holiday budget and your overall budget so January doesn’t bring a landslide of debt. An affordable holiday meal is one small step you can take to help manage your credit card debt. Don’t underestimate the small steps on your way to becoming debt-free!
Happy holidays, and happy cooking!
Participate in this month’s poll: What are your financial plans for the new year?