It’s only October and Halloween hasn’t even passed yet. However, it’s not too early to start planning your holiday meals and baking. I was in the store the other day and they already have the special center aisle display set up with all of the traditional baking ingredients. Things like stuffing mix, cranberries, pie shells, nuts, and pumpkin were already set out. At first I thought, “Good grief, it’s too early for this.” But then I realized that it’s really not. If you start planning your holiday meals now, you can end up saving some money over waiting until the last minute.
Go ahead and sit down, take a few moments and think about what you’ll be doing this season. Will you host Thanksgiving at your house, or will you just bring a pie to your mother-in-law’s gathering? Will you need to bake cupcakes or fudge for your kids’ school? What are your family’s “can’t miss” treats and foods that you have to make every holiday? While you might not know every meal and snack that will come up over the holidays, you probably already know quite a bit. Use this information and start stocking up on supplies now. Why now?
- You can shop sales. Many traditional baking and holiday meal items have already started appearing in the weekly sales flyers. Buy the things you know you’ll need when you see a good sale. You have time to scout around to find the best prices.
- You have time to combine coupons with sales. The Sunday flyers have started filling with coupons for holiday items. From now until Christmas you’ll find coupons for baking products, broths, stuffing mixes, turkey, ham, frozen pies, and rolls. Clip your coupons and then match them to the sales for the best deals. Even if you can’t get a sale match, you can still save some money just by using the coupons.
- You’ll lower your stress level. It’s annoying to get ready to bake something only to discover you’re out of an ingredient then get to the store and discover that they’re out, too. As the holidays get closer, it gets harder to find the things you need because everyone else wants them, too. You may not be able to get your preferred brand and you might have to pay full price whereas if you’d just planned ahead, you could have had your pick of items at sale prices. Planning ahead keeps you from running all over town searching for the items you need and lets you enjoy the holidays more.
Many of the things you need to buy will not expire before the holidays. Flour, sugar, cake mixes, packaged nuts, stuffing mixes, canned vegetables, pie shells, and canned pie fillings will all keep until the holidays. Even frozen pies, desserts, appetizers, and fruits will keep if you have the space. If you stock up on these things now, all you’ll have to buy later will be the fresh produce, dairy, and meats. Everything else will already be on hand, bought at sale prices and with a lot less stress.