Home & Family
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Cooking for the holidays can destroy a monthly food budget. Whether baking treats for gifts or cooking to entertain family and friends, a large portion of the season is spent preparing food. If not careful, grocery bills can start to sky rocket. Luckily, there are a few, simple tips that people can follow to stick to their budgets this holiday season.
Creating a Grocery List
Helen Jones, an Alabama Extension human science regional agent, said before going shopping, people should check to see what is in their pantry.
“An easy way to spend excess money is by buying something that is already in the pantry,” Jones said.
Having an organized list ahead of time is also a big help to sticking to a food budget.
“Consolidate and categorize your grocery list,” she said. “Organizing your list by the order you walk through the store will ensure that you get in and out faster without forgetting anything.”
Forgetting items means making more trips to the store. This wastes not only fuel, but valuable time and energy.
Jones also reminds people that, while tempting, if they do not have a specific plan for an ingredient, do not get it.
If shoppers plan to visit farmer’s markets, Jones suggests making the visit one week ahead of their big buy.
“This will give someone an idea of what is in season and possibly inspire a favorite holiday dish,” Jones said. “They will also be able to make edits to their existing grocery list based on what is freshly available.”
When going grocery shopping, it is important to not to go on an empty stomach. Shopping when hungry, people tend to pile up their shopping carts with unnecessary items. Jones also said it is a good idea to only shop when feeling energized.
“Wiser purchasing choices are made when people have energy and are not preoccupied, tired or stressed,” Jones said.
If a person is feeling stressed, but must go shopping, Jones suggests shopping in a store they are familiar with.
“They will be able to find what they need and get in and out with the items on their list quickly,” she said.
To help further extend your food budget this holiday season, check out the Extension publication How to Make 6 Meals From 1 Chicken. For more information, visit www.aces.edu or contact your county Extension office.