Having Company Stay on a Budget
It is holiday time and company is probably visiting. If you are like me and your family lives in another state, you don't have visitors for the afternoon, but for days or a week at a time. This can really affect your grocery budget and even your utility bill. There isn't much you can do on the utilities, but the grocery budget I can help you with.
Planning ahead for company is so important when you are trying to save money. The further in advance you can start planning and putting your plan into action the better. Look through your local grocery store sale ads and try to buy in bulk items that are on loss leader and use those for the base of your meals. Start stocking up on extra items that you know you will use. The farther in advance you can do this, the more likely a sale will occur on the items you want.
Keep the menu basic. The simpler the meal plan is, the cheaper it will be. That doesn't mean bread and butter or PB&J for every meal. Soups go a long way towards feeding a crowd and pair it with homemade bread and you have a hearty, nutritious and low cost meal. Cooking from scratch is another important key to staying in your budget. The fewer convenience items you use the lower your grocery bill will be.
If I were to buy enough cinnamon rolls to feed my family breakfast it would cost me $4. I can make my own for around $.50. Plus they taste better and are better for you, if cinnamon rolls can be good for you that is. Items cooked from scratch are typically more filling as well. Homemade banana or zucchini bread can be either a nice afternoon snack or a breakfast. These things can easily be doubled.
Purchase large pieces of meat that can be stretched a long way. A large chicken to roast for one meal can turn into homemade chicken noodle soup for another meal. A large pot-roast can turn into French dip sandwiches for another meal. A ham can be turned into a ham and potato casserole or ham and cheese quesadillas. Using vegetables and fruits that are in season will keep your grocery bill low.
Making meals ahead of time will help you keep your costs down. Frequently when you are hosting company you are out and about all day doing things and might not have time to cook dinner. Having a meal or two in the freezer ready to go in the oven will be a major money saver over ordering in or eating out. Also take advantage of your crock pot and bread machine so that dinner will be waiting when you get home from a busy day.
Having guests visit for extended periods is fun and shouldn't be stressful. Taking the time to plan ahead and put in place these money saving ideas will help you stay stress free during busy times.