Sticking to a family budget can be tough, and I find it especially trying around the holidays. Special foods like holiday meats and baking supplies can add up quickly. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to plan for the holiday season and stick to your budget.
For many families, the most expensive part of their food budget comes from meat and dairy products. This can be even more pricey if you’re looking for organic or farm-raised animal products. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep feeding your family the meats and dairy you feel best about without hawking the family jewels.
Give less-expensive braising cuts a try. Braised meats take time, but require very little hands-on preparation. Have a slow-cooker? Even better – dinner practically makes itself.
Opt for Whole Chicken
Buy whole chickens and break them down yourself. Whole chickens are much cheaper by the pound. Feeling squeamish? Try chicken thighs, as these cuts are about half the price of chicken breasts.
Use Meat for Flavor
Instead of featuring a cut of meat as the main course, try using meat as a flavor component. Add bacon or sausage to a pasta dish, or make a soup with ham hock. Not only does this approach cut down on your budget, it makes more room on the plate for healthy vegetables.
Butter’s on sale? Grab a bunch. There’s a lot of baking during the holidays, and you’re likely to need tons of butter, not to mention flour, spices, and stock. Butter freezes well, so grab a big stash and freeze whatever you won’t need right away. Look through your holiday menus, and keep an eye out for sales on the ingredients you use most.
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