There’s so much to love about the holidays. Being with family and friends, the food, creating memories, and okay, the gifts too. But the budget smart cook has some other reasons to celebrate this season.
Sales During the Holidays
Have you noticed how many food items are on sale between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? Being a budget minded cook, I really look forward to receiving fliers from all my local stores this time of the year. If I’ve been a bit lazy about planning ahead or organizing the pantry, seeing all the items I can buy gets me back on track. December is the perfect time, and if your budget allows it, to stock up on extra items. Things like cans of vegetables, cranberry sauce, pumpkin. And don’t forget items like flour can also be stored in the fridge or freezer. My local store is selling its brand name cheese for just 88 cents this week. I don’t always like the texture of cheese when it’s taken out of the freezer, but adding it to things like sauces and soups is a perfect way to use it.
Sales After the Holidays
Sales don’t only happen during the holidays. You can find some great deals long after the last Christmas decoration is taken down. And don’t just think food items. Christmas canisters and bags are perfect to put aside ready for next year’s holiday food gifts. I often see gift packages with things like dried fruits and nuts, sometimes 50-75% off during the first week of January. I don’t buy them to give as gifts, but use them myself during the next couple of months. They usually end up being cheaper than buying these items in bulk. Plus, I also get a container or basket to use for gifts next year.
Holiday dinners and parties often result in lots of leftover food. Some can be made into new meals, but other things like appetizers can also be frozen and pulled out for a quick lunch or snack during the New Year.
Whether it’s making a resolution to eat more healthful foods, or trimming your budget, the holidays are a great time to think about your goals for the coming year.
While you’re cooking for a crowd it doesn’t take much more effort or money to put together extra servings. Sometimes I’ll cook extra mashed potatoes and put them in my food saver bags. Sometimes it’s extra stuffing that I’ll freeze. And around this time of the year I’ll put together complete meal kits, potatoes, veggies, and chicken that I put on a plate that’s suitable for the freezer and once again seal them using my food saver machine.
Food of the Season
Do you have a favorite food that’s only available during the holiday season? For me that’s cranberries and sweet potatoes. If you want to use these types of food in a recipe in say July, first of all good luck trying to find them, and secondly, if you do, they cost twice as much. I always buy at least five bags of cranberries during the holidays and keep them in the freezer. I also cook and mash sweet potatoes, put them in storage bags and load them in the freezer too. Sometimes it’s just a nice change of pace to pull them out in the middle of summer and think back to the holidays.