Christmas is approaching and with it begin the big celebrations, the huge feasts, and the dinners with many friends and family. If this year you are in charge of the recipes, surely many of you are worried about the budget. That’s why today we want to tell you some tips to make this holiday season as economical as possible. Because it is possible to spend these celebrations without spending excessive sums of money. So stay with us to see how to save Christmas dinners. We will tell you some tricks to have everything under control, but without giving up anything these celebrations.
From conscientiously planning the menu, to knowing how to take advantage of the leftovers of these holidays to avoid throwing anything away, are small details that can make a difference. And the fact is that it is becoming more and more complicated to make family meals because of what it entails. Between the huge rise in prices that we have been suffering all year, and the high cost of supplies, many of us will think twice about the menu this holiday season. But we are not going to give up spending Christmas with the family, we just need to know some tips to avoid going bankrupt in the attempt.
How to save money on Christmas dinners
Know the number of guests at the table
Organization is the key to saving money. If we organize ourselves in time we can reduce the Christmas budget. And the main thing to be able to organize well is to know the exact number of guests we are going to have at the table.
It is true that this is not an easy task, as we may have some last minute guests or have to leave the table at the last minute. Even so, we will try to know how many people are coming to the lunches or dinners as far in advance as possible. And when we know this, we will calculate one or two extra in case some diners bring guests.
Now that we know how many we are going to have, we can start to work out our budget.
To Save on Christmas, Plan the Menu and Develop a Closed Budget
As soon as we know how many guests we are going to have, the next step is to plan the menu. Remember not to forget any dish. We will think about the starters, canapés or appetizers; we will also decide which first course we are going to put; the second course or main course; the desserts and the drinks. If you prefer to put more snacks or starters you can omit the first course.
The important thing is not to leave anything to improvisation. Plan your menu and make the purchases on this closed menu. If you leave things to the last minute or start planning it on the fly when you go shopping, it is possible that you will exceed the budget by far. Remember that at this time of year (as throughout the year) you will find the most original items designed to make you nibble.
Compare Prices, Find Deals and Go for the Lowest Cost Option
Once you have decided on the menu it’s time to start looking for the best prices. We usually associate higher prices with better quality, and this is not always the case. For example, to save good money, opt for private labels. If you notice, the manufacturer in most of the occasions is the same as in the branded product.
Also remember not to buy what you don’t need. This is the importance of making a closed menu. Therefore, respect the menu to avoid going over budget.
For example, there is not much difference between serving great canapés in tartlets and serving them on toast. However, as the price difference is much higher in the former, especially as the most important dates are approaching. So you will save money at Christmas with this simple gesture.
The same goes for drinks. It is not necessary to buy the best wine on the market. You can save a few euros by buying a cheaper wine and giving it your own personal touch. If you use it to make mulled wine, very typical of these dates, a clericot, or a sangria, no one will notice the difference and you will serve a great and very tasty drink.
It is nothing new that as soon as Christmas approaches, all prices skyrocket. Not only food prices go up, but also the prices of any product.
Remember that in addition to your menu, you will need other things such as napkins. If you have noticed, since October you can find napkins with the most Christmas motifs. So if you want to have a detail in the decoration of your table plan it in advance and buy it before December arrives.
The same goes for sweets. For example, if you are going to buy nuts to make your desserts, keep in mind that they are products that remain in good condition for a long time, so it is not necessary to buy them at the last minute.
The great protagonist of the novelties, seafood, is one of the most affected in terms of price increases in the run-up to Christmas. Keep in mind a couple of details: frozen seafood is cheaper, especially if you buy it in advance.
Or, you can buy it before December and freeze it yourself.
In the same way you can prepare broths and soups well in advance. These are foods that you can freeze without any problem. Thus, in addition to saving money, you will save a lot of time at lunch or dinner.
Avoid buying already prepared or cooked products.
Ahead of Christmas you will find a multitude of very striking preparations, but with exorbitant prices. If you look at these canapés or appetizers, their ingredients and what they really are, you will see that their price is well above their real value.
Therefore, avoid buying ready-made products at all costs to stay within your budget.
An example of this is the price of raw or cooked shrimp. You will find that cooked shrimp cost more than raw shrimp. However, do you know how easy it is to cook shrimp yourself? It will take you just a few minutes and you will save a big part of your budget with this simple gesture.
Find Inexpensive Recipes and Choose Alternatives to Expensive Products
There are certain products that, by custom, are more typical in these holidays. Therefore, although the price increase is generalized, in these products it is much more exaggerated. However, we always have more economical alternatives, since it is not necessary to eat suckling pig or prawns, we can buy many other ingredients that, although less typical, will be just as good.
For example, you can substitute turkey for other cheaper meats, such as chicken. As for fish, leave the hake or sea bass for next month and opt for cheaper fish. In the same way, you can substitute champagne or cava for cider, a more affordable option but just as tasty.
And finally, remember that casseroles are very filling. Especially if you are going to have many guests.
Use all the leftovers, never throw away food
We all know that at this time of the year we usually make big feasts. We exceed in quantity and, even if we have many guests, there is always food left over.
To avoid wasting both food and money, use all the leftovers. Remember that food should never be thrown away at Christmas or any other time of the year. Use your imagination and innovate with recipes to make the most of your food so as not to throw anything away.
And with this we finish our tips and tricks to save as much as possible this year in our Christmas dinners and meals.
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