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10 Ways to Stretch Holiday Dinner Dollars

Posted by on Nov. 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM
  • 5 Replies
1 mom liked this

Tips to make the celebration big and the cost small

Hosting a holiday dinner doesn’t need to break your budget. Be creative and keep economy in mind. You can make a fantastic  meal AND keep your holidays on track. 


  • Shop early: Start shopping a couple weeks before the holiday, picking up canned goods and non-perishables as they go on sale.

  • Use coupons: Even if you’re not a regular coupon clipper, use manufacturers’ and grocers’ coupons to save a bundle on your feast. And don’t miss coupons on for big savings on holiday must-haves!

  • Later dinner time: Feeding a big bunch? Set dinner time later in the afternoon to fill them up once for the rest of the night.

  • Kid art: Outlines of kids’ hands become creative, no-cost turkeys, leaves, or flowers for place-card decorations when colored and labeled with guests’ names.

  • No tablecloth? No problem. Get crafty: Don’t buy an expensive new tablecloth. Purchase an inexpensive roll of craft paper – bright white, brown or choose a seasonal color. Or skip it all together. 

  • No-cost details make it special: Add touches to the table that don’t cost a dime but that add a definitive wow factor. Try these ideas: Slice sticks of butter into restaurant-style butter pats (chill on squares of waxed paper until dinner time);  add lemon slices to water glasses; place a colorful fall leaf under the glass at each place setting.

  • Focus on the food: Even a dish of plain green beans gets extra points when you sprinkle it with a few slivered almonds. Add honey and a sprinkle of nutmeg to cooked baby carrots, toasted pecans to mashed sweet potatoes, or dried cranberries to spinach salad.

  • Candlelight is always right: Use large candles at the center of the table, or small votives at each place setting for more intimate appeal. (Keep open flames away from fabrics, napkins, and small children, or keep it safe with battery-powered candles instead.)

  • Plan for leftovers:  Stretching the leftover turkey into next week's dinners is a budget helper.  Just make sure you store and use the leftovers safely.  
  •   Divide and conquer: Asking guests to bring the side dishes or dessert will trim your budget quickly, and it lets everyone share in creating the meal.
by on Nov. 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM
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Replies (1-5):
by Silver Member on Nov. 7, 2012 at 5:15 PM

great tips

by on Nov. 7, 2012 at 8:34 PM

 Thanks for sharing!

by Member on Nov. 9, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Great tips! I have about 20-25 guests for the holidays. I usually ask each family to bring a dish & that certainly helps. I may try moving the start time to later in the evening since its hard to have everyone here early now with some of the high school aged kids cheer leading & playing in marching bands on thanksgiving day. That would alleviate some stress at least!
by Member on Nov. 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM

This is very helpful! Thanks for posting.

by Platinum Member on Nov. 9, 2012 at 9:19 PM

 Good tips. Thank you for sharing.

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