Now that Halloween is over and it is November it is officially the holiday season! In our family the holiday season is not just Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s but it is all the preparation that goes into those days that really make the difference. I now know this because there have been years that for whatever reason Emily or I wasn’t able to do much in the planning department and it was almost like the holidays never even happened. Aside from the expense of the gifts, clothes, and decorations there is quite a bit of cost in the holiday meals and baking. I like to be prepared for those extra expenses and I want to make sure I have everything I am going to need before starting the preparation; I absolutely hate going out to pick up an item or two at the store. I do sometimes find that I need something and send Paul out to get it but he is not the most frugal shopper nor does he know what a good price for something is or the quantity that it will be used so he often make selections that I would not. For example two years ago we were in temporary housing during Christmas after relocating to Texas and many of my baking equipment was packed along with items that wouldn’t really spoil like baking soda. Long story short I needed some so he went to Costco and brought me back a ten pound bag! I used it in little amounts for a year and a half before it expired; it is now in with the cleaning supplies.
I start this process by making a list of all the holiday meals we are going to be hosting along with the times in which we will have family from out of state staying with us. This gives me an idea of how many special meals I need to plan and in what quantities. Next I make a list of the homemade gifts I plan on giving out that year because often times they include food. Then I make a list of the cookies and candies I plan on making and the total quantity that we will need to accommodate our family friends and coworkers. When we were kids my mom would often make 25 or more varieties and 100 total dozen cookies for the season. I do not make that many but I do make 6-8 different kinds each year and I make about 25 dozen cookies in addition to the candy and fudge. I plan out the total expense of the ingredients and then make a budget for those items. I am adding about $100 extra into my grocery budget in order to make all those cookies. As those items go on sale I purchase them, and I know exactly how much of each ingredient I need.
If you bake during the holidays but have never incorporated them into your planning and budget I suggest you try it out, it really helps to remove an area of stress during the holidays.
This is our meal plan this week:
For more Menu Plans and tips for to Organizing Junkie
Much Love, Aislinn and Emily