How to Do a Big Dinner on a Dime

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I mentioned yesterday how special my mom made special occasions. We were always on a budget, but things always looked nice and tasted great. I don’t really know how she pulled it off. I never heard her complain that she couldn’t set a pretty table or a fancy spread due to lack of money.

Mom? Are you there? Maybe you could comment? What’s your secret?

Well, until my mom learns about the comment function, I thought I’d present some ideas about how to “Do a Holiday Dinner on a Dime”.

1. Host a potluck. This is a great way to gather a group without ending up in the poor house. Provide the main dish and ask others to bring their favorite sides and desserts. You may end up with seven chocolate cakes, but hey, that’s a special occasion if I ever heard of one.

2. Plan ahead. If you know you will be feeding more than your own family over the holiday, plan accordingly. Plan some really cheap meals (read: rice and beans) for a few nights in order to leave more padding in your grocery budget.

Likewise, if you see great deals that would work for your fancy dinner, stock up on those at a great price, rather than paying “full pop” when you want or need it.

3. Shop the sales. Maybe you don’t have a lot of advance notice. That’s okay. Just pick up this week’s sale flyer and let that determine your menu. If ham is the cheapest thing going, then make ham and scalloped potatoes the stars of your menu. But, feel free to be unconventional if that’s the way the sales ads roll. For example, spare ribs are on sale at several of my stores, so I might cook up a few slabs and have friends bring BBQ-type sides. It may not be “fancy” in the true sense of the word, but it’d sure be good.

4. Think outside the box. There’s no law that says Easter Dinner has to be ham, lamb, or turkey. If a big pasta feed is in your budget, so be it. If a big hamburger cookout works for you, then go for it. The purpose of the celebration is to rejoice in what God has done while enjoying time with family and friends.

It’s not about the food. (And, yes, I said that.)

Got a great money saving tip? Share it with us!

Write about it on your blog and bring your link back here. Anyone is welcome to participate provided that both the blog and the post are family-friendly.

Please remember

1. to add a link to LifeasMOM, so that your readers know where to find all the other good stuff that people are sharing. (It’s always good to share, isn’t it?)

2. to make sure that the link you share here directs us to your post, not the main page of your blog. You can find directions to do that here.

Looking forward to your great ideas!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Homemaker Barbi / Danelle Ice says:

    I linked in the right Mr Linky this time! lol I blame it all on Ultimate Blog Party… it made me crazy, I tell ya!

    Hope your upcoming week is totally awesome 🙂

    Homemaker Barbi / Danelle Ice

  2. Amy @ Finer Things says:

    All of our holiday meals (birthdays included) are potluckish. The hostess takes care of the meat, drinks, table service, and other “specialties” and then everyone else pitches in.

    Works for us!

  3. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management says:

    I have yet to host a big holiday meal. Maybe I’m not a grown-up yet? LOL. Really, my MIL will allow me to bring a dish (and she’s grateful for it), but she usually insists on fixing the main parts of the meal.

    Maybe I’ll be a grandmother before I get to (have to?) do this.

  4. Marcia says:

    You are absolutely right about not losing the most important part of the celebration. The food is not important. Some folks get hung up on not having certain foods or traditions for holidays, but we really must be more flexible when we are trying to be frugal.

    Very good reminder.

  5. I do love potluck! As a matter of fact our wedding was potluck and we had the best food!

  6. Hoosier Homemade says:

    I love hosting parties and dinners, but they can get pricey. I love potluck, plus you get to try everyone’s food.
    Thanks for hosting!

  7. black eyed susans kitchen says:

    Not sure I linked correctly, but I agree with you whole heartedly. Making a holiday special does not have to be expensive. We hosted a Christmas dessert potluck for the families on our block and it was one of the most successful parties that we ever had. Our contribution was a tira-mi-su, and a bowl of homemade whipped cream. We all had a blast. I posted today about a vintage collection of china that was bought for very little over the years at yard sales. It is our favorite to use at holiday dinners.

  8. Shalet says:

    I’ve been writing Frugal Friday posts for a while now but just came across your site today. I’m adding my name to the list!

  9. shopannies says:

    thanks for the ideas

  10. auctiongirlvintage says:

    Great ideas … it’s about the fellowship AND the food, no matter how much we all love the idea of a huge holiday meal. Potlucks rock (yep, even after 50 years of ’em). My favorites are appetizers-and-desserts potlucks, since we all love to fill up on appys. Also love doing just salads and desserts, so that nothing needs to be reheated or kept hot in transit. Another easy peasy potluck idea is to BBQ … everyone brings their own meat and a side dish.

    Have a great holiday dinner!

    30 Days of Junkin’ in April

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