Frugal Holiday Cooking and Baking Tips

holiday cooking

Buying extra ingredients for holiday baking and cooking can really add up.  Here are a few ideas to keep Christmas and Thanksgiving adventures in the kitchen affordable.

Make a list of your “must make” recipes.

Make a list of all the foods that you know you want to make.  Start buying those ingredients now a few at a time, until you’ve gathered them all up.  That way you won’t have a huge amount hit your grocery bill at one time.

Focus on cooking from scratch with inexpensive ingredients.

It’s nearly always cheaper to make foods homemade rather than buying a mix.  Many holiday recipes include expensive ingredients.  By focusing on recipes that are mostly made with inexpensive ingredients you can keep the cost down.  Make your own pie crust and Pumpkin Pie rather than buying a whole pie.

I find the most expensive recipes involve chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese,  nuts or convenience items.  Many of my favorites contain all of these.   If I need to keep the budget down, I’ll make a couple of expensive favorites and fill in with less expensive recipes.

Maximize your turkey or ham purchase.

It’s being reported that Walmart will be selling turkeys for about 40 cents per pound this season.  That is about 1/3 the cost of turkeys last Thanksgiving.  I’m guessing that other stores will follow suit.  Take advantage of these sales.  Turkey can be frozen after you’ve cooked it and used just like chicken in recipes that call for cooked chicken.  Ham can also be frozen and used in casseroles or reheated with eggs for a quick meal.

Cut down your normal food budget during the holidays.

Do a freezer/pantry challenge and use up some of the foods you have hiding there.  Plan meals that are low-cost.  You can check out my list of low-cost meals or just print off one of the 2 low cost menus/grocery list/recipes (Low Cost Menu 1, Low Cost Menu 2)

What are your tips?

How do you keep the cost of ingredients for holiday foods reasonable?  Share your ideas in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Good tips! I really do need to start buying supplies, for Thanksgiving and Christmas both. Thanks!

  2. I add up how much of basic ingredients I’m likely to need and buy those in bulk – so today bought 3kg each of dark and light brown sugar, 10kg regular sugar, 3 kg unsalted butter and 7.5 kg plain flour. Plus some spices – much cheaper to pay wholesale for these then remember you needed to pick up more sugar for those cookies you’re taking tonight and have to run to the corner store…

    Not to mention picking up dried fruit and cheap alcohol in January sales to soak all year before making puddings, cakes and mincemeat NEXT Christmas :)

  3. Great tips!

    I agree on buying bulk on those must-haves. I also try to find recipes where I can use a lot of the same ingredients in different ways, cocoa, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla & cherries for example can be used in several different holiday recipes.

    Definitely stock up the pantry & cook from that.

    And sales, sales, sales. If you are going for organic or all-natural (organic) look for good deals at stores like Trader Joe’s. Yes these ingredients can cost more for those on tighter budget but for those who want them but don’t want to pay really high prices (like at Whole Foods) a place like TJs is great.

    If you buy a few ingredients at a time you can get everything you need & have a good amount left-over for taking you into Jan.

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