Affordable Holiday Meal Planning on a Budget
Updated: 6 days ago
While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, everyone celebrates other holidays during the rest of the season of the remaining year. Now more than ever, saving money is the most important, if not, crucial act we need to do. From keeping a roof over your head, the utilities on, fuel in your vehicle, your prescriptions and medical expenses paid, it makes saving very challenging. And, somewhere in the mix, you still need to buy groceries for the home. It seems like it is never-ending and the costs associated with 2023 is astronomically high.
While we may not be able to put on several side dishes, several appetizers, multiple dessert offerings, we can look at this from a "how much am I spending on the food itself?" and go back to the basics of doing your Math homework and actually see for yourself, you CAN still put on a beautiful holiday meal or a regular weekend night meal, it all boils down to Food Cost Budgeting...
TOTAL PRICE: This is what you find on the grocery shelves - the price tag UNIT PRICE: The actual cost broken down by unit, bottle, jar, bag, pre-set weight, pre-packaged weight, etc.
In the video I posted on my YouTube channel, there are math formulas that can be used to calculate just how much it costs either by unit or by weight. The prices used in the video only represent MY demographic. However, the pricing math for determining your savings applies every where you shop.
In the video, the flyer shows what our current prices are reflecting (Week of 11/05/23 - 11/11/23) at one of our grocery stores in this region. A grocery store flyer is your tool to determine how you can save money by pre-planning what you are purchasing ahead of time. Whether it is a Holiday dinner or a regular weeknight dinner, these formulas help give you the tools you need in order to determine where you can save money.
In the video, the lowest priced turkey is a 10-16lb bird for USD$0.69/lb. If I were to do the math on that, I can see how much the food portioned cost is for a 4oz serving and an 8oz serving. It would look like this:
USD $0.69 ÷ 16 ounces = Each ounce costs USD $0.04/oz (Rounded-up)
Whole Turkey 10-16lbs = USD $6.90 to $11.04 total
4oz Cooked Turkey = USD $0.17 (rounded up)
8oz Cooked Turkey = USD $0.35
Pretty significant savings and let's face it: You can make A LOT of meals with leftover turkey like we all have been doing for many years. In the video, I have provided price breakdowns on other meats that have different pricing per pound and show you just how much each portion is when we do the price-breakdown. Loose produce that requires weighing $/lb follows the same math formula. If Zucchini is USD $0.69/lb, a four-ounce serving is only USD $0.17!
Now, with pre-packed produce and other foods, it won't always be 1lb/16 ounces. I used an example of where some fancy cocktail olives were a 15oz pre-packaged item for $6.99. Store-brand kalamata olives were 1lb for $3.99. The price of the fancy olives was divided by four, anticipating four servings. It was also the same for the store-brand kalamata olives. This is where you can easily see that the decision-making on what to purchase is still in YOUR power to control AND you are saving substantial money. It looks like this:
Fancy Olives USD $6.99/15oz pkg ÷ 4 servings = USD $0.47 per person/serving
Store-brand Kalamata Olives USD $3.99/1lb = USD $0.25 per person/serving
AVOID CANNED VEGETABLES/FRUITS: I cant even begin to tell you just how ridiculous and crazy canned food prices are. Even with coupons, you are being ripped off and you are basically paying for that company's cost of the can, the chemicals, stabilizers, and artificial ingredients just to maintain shelf-stability of whatever they packed in that can. YOU, the consumer, are paying the company more money for less product. In the video, I showed the freezer section for cut corn. We are a seasonal region where I live so fresh corn is coming in from other parts of the country and the prices reflect that because of the costs of transporting. In that freezer section, this store has a 1lb frozen bag of cut corn for $1.39/lb. THAT is cheaper than a can of corn and I can feed four to six people with that one frozen bag. Or, I can go for the 24oz bag for the same corn but at a lesser price.
I know this angers a lot of people but, the truth is real: it IS cheaper to cook from scratch. You really do save substantially with the whole process of breaking down the pricing and doing the math. I dont know about everyone else but, I am definitely going for the biggest turkey at that USD $0.69/lb price tag. It's only two people in this empty-nest and the number of meals I can make from all of the leftovers means we are continuing to save more money by not doing grocery shopping again. The stock that I can make for gravy, pan sauces, and soups/stews continues to help save money. No one should feel shame in changing up the Thanksgiving or any holiday dinner from what is considered the norm. Be like me: non-conforming and non-compliant. Do what YOU want to do. There are no rules in that you have to have turkey and ham on Thanksgiving. You do you and what works best for your family.
Now, it is time for you to do your math homework. If you need my help, just reach out. I am on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and right here on my website.
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