One of the best parts of the holiday season is all of the delicious foods available. Some people opt for making their goodies from scratch. No matter how you serve up your favorite holiday meals and treats, it pays to stock your pantry.
A problem people run into with stocking their pantry for the holidays is having to use the items before holiday cooking and baking begins. This causes the mad dash to replace certain items and spending more money than they had planned. There are ways to avoid this extra spending and actually save you money.
Make the lists
The first list is your budget for holiday grocery shopping. It is much easier to not spend too much if you know what your budget is. The fact is no one likes having to shop on a budget, but it is necessary to ensure that you won’t go in debt this holiday season!
The second list is what you will need for holiday goodies and meals. If you plan on hosting any gatherings then you need to factor in how many people will be attending and make out your grocery list accordingly. Stick to only what is on your list! Shopping by the list will keep you from impulse buying an extra box of chocolates or that cute snowman cake pan.
Buy in bulk
Some items are cheaper to buy in bulk like pasta, canned foods and baking goods like flour. The important thing to remember is only buy in bulk the holiday items you use the most. You do not want to end up with a ton of foods that will sit long enough to spoil.
If you use a lot of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, then it can be a good idea to buy the larger containers because those will last longer. It is not necessary to buy everything in large quantities, just the items you use a lot of during the holidays. On the other hand, anything leftover can be used after the holiday season, so use your own discretion when buying in bulk.
Shop the sales
Many grocery stores start selling holiday-themed items like baking chips, cake mixes, etc as early as Halloween. Shop these sales for non perishable items like canned goods and dry goods (pastas, flour). If you play your cards right, you can get most of your holiday pantry shopping done early. Then all you have to worry about is making all of those wonderful meals and treats.
The thing to watch out for when shopping the sales is expiration dates. Most grocery stores are really good about keeping an eye on expiration dates. However, once in a while you may come across a really awesome sale on items that will expire very soon. Buying these items is fine if you plan on using right away, but if you are stocking your holiday pantry and won’t use the items for a while, then avoid those items.
The easiest way to cut down on spending (and stress) for holiday foods is by stocking your pantry a little in advance. Shop the sales and buy more than one of the things you use the most. Buying certain items in bulk can save you time and money in the long run. Another good idea is to start shopping for some items as soon as they go on sale.
Stress is an unfortunate part of the holidays. You can reduce some of that stress by planning your food budget and stocking your pantry ahead of time. With a little careful planning, you can have money and time left over.