How to save money hosting a holiday meal

How to save money hosting a holiday meal

Gathering your friends and family to break bread this holiday season should be about gratitude and togetherness, not about blowing the budget on this potentially costly meal.

Here are some tips on how to host a fun and fancy holiday dinner without breaking the bank.

How to save money hosting a holiday meal

Plan your meal

If you are a smart shopper, you are already consulting flyers and sales to construct your shopping list. The same principle should be applied to your holiday meal planning. Many holiday staples will be on sale, but keep an open mind. Maybe this is the year to swap out some of your side dishes to suit the sales. You may discover a new family favourite!

By the same token, make sure that you do an inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer before you go shopping. You may very well have canned goods that will do the job nicely on hand.

Fresh vs. Frozen

Consider buying a frozen turkey as opposed to a fresh one. They are generally much less expensive and are still very moist. Make sure that you get the right size. Typically you go for about a pound per guest. If you are aiming for leftovers (and you should to get more mileage out of this meal) go for 1.5 to 2 pounds a person.


The most expensive part of your meal can be the alcohol. Have guests bring any libations that they wish to consume and you can provide water and pop. Much cheaper.

Cash in Rewards

Do you belong to rewards programs that lets you cash in for groceries? This holiday is a great time to take advantage and cut the costs of hosting a large meal.

Work the elbow grease

Wherever possible, make your dishes from scratch (and that includes dessert). It will take more time, so plan ahead, but it costs way less than buying prepared foods.

If you’re a novice cook, enlist help from your family and friends. Better yet, delegate out some of the dishes for them to bring!