Facts for Families

Facts for Families

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Save on Holiday Groceries

By Cheri Burcham, Family Life Educator

With the hustle and bustle of the season, we still have to eat, and holiday grocery shopping can be a strain on your budget. I thought I would share some tips from Extension Educator Mary Liz Wright on how to lighten the burden of holiday grocery shopping:

I discovered something at our family's Thanksgiving feast…. we made nearly twice as much food as we needed. Many of us are strapped for cash this time of year (insert editorial comment about buying too many presents) and we could use some extra money. Where can we find a few extra dollars? Let's look at our grocery list. Below are some tips for saving at the grocery store during the holidays.

  • Make less—think about what was left at Thanksgiving and plan accordingly for your holiday meals, for example: if you had half of a 13 x 9 pan of dressing left—make a 9 x 9 for Christmas—using only half of the ingredients will save you money
  • Check your pantry and freezer, you might have ingredients left from last year (canned and frozen items will be safe), if spices are fragrant they are fine
  • Swap ingredients, use half margarine and half butter were the recipe calls for either, using half butter will provide ample flavor and half margarine will save money
  • Use less expensive versions of ingredients, for example: nuts pieces rather than halves, canned fruits rather than fresh, chicken rather than veal
  • Try store brands—no one will know the difference
  • Watch for sales on meats and other specialty ingredients either shortly before or after holidays, planning ahead for the weeks after a holiday can save money on regular meals
  • Plan wisely during December—have a meatless day each week, cook breakfast for supper on a busy night, use your slow cooker to avoid the drive through on nights when you are pressed for time

Just a few of these tips can make a difference in your budget—and a healthy budget can reduce stress!

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy!

For more information on University of Illinois Extension programming in Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at (217)345-7034.

Source: Mary Liz Wright, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness

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