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I don’t know about you but for many people the 4th of July marks the “true” beginning of the summer; one short vacation where we can celebrate with friends and family one of the most fun days of the year. If you’re like me you like to host the party. It’s great to have everyone together for a good time of summer fun. But this can also be an overwhelming and need I say expensive process. If you are looking to save money during your 4th of July celebration here are some tips for you.
Put Your Plan Down On Paper. This one is sort of a no brainer, and yet people rarely mention it. Sit down and plan your meals and list all other resources you’ll need for your party; this way you’ll have an accurate shopping list and it will keep you from buying things that you don’t need. You need to be realistic about what you’re friends and family will eat. I’m definitely a grazer, so I try to factor in small snacks and appetizers when I create my list. Be resourceful with your list too. Double check to make sure you don’t already have something that you may have put on your list. Also consider picking up a couple of frozen dinners for your celebration to cut down ingredients that you will only use a portion of before it goes in the garbage. Meal planning is a great tool help reduce your cost, just be sure to stick to the list.
Double Check Your Inventory. Americans waste about 25% of the food they buy. So if you spend $200 on groceries, chances are you’ll end up tossing $50 worth of it, by letting things spoil. It’s a cruel cycle. Before you make any purchases, go through your household inventory and see what can be used to make your party a success. Create a list of everything you can potentially use from your findings. This can help you trim down your shopping list, as well as help you clear out your cabinets and fridge.
Cook In Bulk with Casseroles. When preparing for your celebration it is best to cook in bulk. I personally recommend making casseroles. Whether it’s lasagna or chicken pot pie, casseroles have a reputation for being excellent celebration options for a couple of reasons. First of all, there’s an endless variety of casseroles, from tuna noodle to tomato pie, meaning you’re not limited to making the same old recipe over and over. Secondly, casseroles use ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard such as canned soup, shredded cheese, chicken breasts and frozen pie crust. Making a casserole mainly involves layering basic ingredients, so they are easy ways to consume a variety of foods without requiring too much cleanup. Thirdly, you ultimately end up saving money. Casseroles are very filling and don’t require abstract ingredients that will only be used in one recipe. They also make for great leftovers and will save you many meals for your family.
Refrigerate. Time equals money. This is a fundamental truth no matter who you are. When it comes to holiday cooking, make your refrigerator your best friend because it saves you time and energy. Many of the most popular foods and desserts, can be assembled a day or two beforehand. Prepare your dishes on a day when you’re not busy and simply pop them in the oven when you need them; oftentimes, they’ll taste even better after sitting in the fridge.
Invite Others to Bring Food Too. One of the easiest ways of saving money during the Fourth of July is to invite everyone to bring a plate of their own. If you want to get really focused you can put out a list of dishes that you need and ask people to volunteer for certain plates. This will greatly help you focus your spending on other areas of your party that might need it.
Through this process you should be well on your way to saving money when planning your party. I encourage you to use these steps in order to improve your 4th of July celebration for all of your guests.
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