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How are you economizing this holiday season? Please share your tips.

This year, I'm making some changes in my holiday food shopping, cooking and entertaining. Do you have any tips for stretching your dollar, while still trying to buy and cook quality foods/meals? How is the weak economy affecting your holiday shopping, cooking and entertaining plans? Please share your opinions and ideas.

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  1. In my store there seems to be a lot going on clearance of half price, it seems whenever there is a holiday or they bring in new stock they always do this. I take advantage and buy a lot of ingredients I would normally buy if I see them on clearance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BamiaWruz

      Same here- I just bought 4 one-cup individual servings of pork stock (Kitchen Basics) for less than 1/2 price. An unusual item for CT groceries. I don't use it often, but I can never find it when I need it. A good idea to stock up on stuff you need when it's on sale. However, it seems like there are more things on sale, but I'm spending more at the store. The regular price of most food items has gone up significantly, here.

    2. I always pick up pantry items on sale, and look for the best values, but Thanksgiving is a feast, and hopefully will be as I prepare it for up to 17 guests this year.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bayoucook

        Are people bringing side items, or are you cooking everything yourself? I'm glad you are having a huge celebration. Several usual guests of ours are not coming this year b/c they can't take the time off from work. They are young, single people in their 20's, and are worried about taking time off from their jobs. A big change from years past.

        1. re: stuck in Hartford County

          My aunt is baking her wonderful pecan pies, and my cousin is bring the family favorite cornbread dressing. Another cousin is bringing a side dish he hasn't decided on yet.
          All 17 may not show, but I hope they do. I start cooking 3 days in advance. I have a recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes that people prefer to regular, and there are several items I make ahead. I always make my husband's family dressing that his mom taught me to make 32 years ago. I love every minute of it!

      2. We are fortunate this year in that we had a lot of produce that my daughter grew. In order to have a feast but not spend a bundle we will be using a lot of the "free" produce to make dinner. Besides - it seems appropriate for Thanksgiving!! the biggest cost for me will be a fresh, free range, locally farmed turkey.
        I am also asking guests to bring the wine (one couple has a lot more money than I do and they want to bring something). That saves a bunch of money!

        1. I also stock up on sale items and buy in bulk if the price if right and freeze the items.

          In years gone by people use to go way over the top with food, turkey and a ham, 4 or 5 side dishes, 3 or 4 pies and/or cakes. When my husband and I started hosting family holiday dinners we decided to keep it very simple and this helped in keeping the cost down. We buy what is on sale and it is not always Turkey!

          Last year's dinner was a pork roast with pan gravy, Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon and garlic rosemary roasted potatoes and when they come out of the oven hit them with some parmesan cheese! For dessert we had individual pecan pies...it pleased the family and it was not over the top and we did not spend a bundle!

          For a Christmas Party this year we are Keeping it simple, on our boat in the boat parade, serving Scallop and bacon chowder with crusty bread and Christmas punch...We can only have about 12 people so it keeps cost down and so does the menu...a tasty chowder and homemade crusty bread!

          1. OK, sad but true, I am inviting less guests, it's just going to be my immediate family versus the extended family. Thanksgiving has always been "my" holiday to host the whole crew, but I don't have a job this time around, and am very busy interviewing, networking, etc. Too much stress to undertake such a large gathering. I will make it up to them next Thanksgiving!

            1 Reply
            1. re: MNLisaB

              Good luck with your interviews! A new job can make for GREAT holidays! :-)