Happy Holidays on a Budget

Relax. There are plenty of ways you can stretch your dollars this holiday season. Here are a few ideas for treating your loved ones without hurting your wallet.
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Plan a Bountiful Meal without Sacrificing Flavor

Every family has their own traditions, but the classics never go out of style. With a little creativity and some smart shopping, you can stay within your budget and satisfy every unique appetite.

  • Choose dishes that feed many people and don't require expensive, specialty ingredients. Let weekly sale items inspire you!
  • Focus on crowd-friendly casseroles, pies or salad-style dishes. Make them in advance to save time.
  • Try a potluck. Forget the old saying about "too many cooks" — asking your friends and family to bring a dish will make them feel involved.
  • Be prepared! Save time and money by knowing exactly what ingredients you need for each recipe.
  • Choose store brands over national brands to save money but still get the exact same taste and quality.
  • Make it yourself instead of choosing boxed options — it's less expensive.

Shopping and Serving Tips for Creating a Fabulous, Affordable Meal

  • Buy in season — fresh from the farm is generally the most affordable. And don't forget about buying in bulk.
  • Keep an eye on weekly circulars for holiday staples that are on sale. With your Giant Eagle Advantage Card® and Giant Eagle® eOffers™, you can save even more.
  • Serve an appetizer and a bunch of side dishes. The meat is the most expensive part of a meal, so make your meat stretch further by giving your guests plenty of other choices.
  • Make a list before you shop for gifts or groceries. Lists help you track costs and keep spending in check.
  • Keep portions to recommended serving sizes for more expensive items on your menu. Let your guests help themselves to the salad, grains and vegetables while you serve the meat, fish or chicken.
  • Go meatless for at least one meal a day and stretch meat by using it in soups, casseroles or other mixed dishes.
  • Adding grated carrots, zucchini or turnips to salads increases volume and nutrition.
  • Take advantage of in-store specials and “in-season” bargains. Think pumpkin soup, oven-roasted parsnips, Brussels sprouts or acorn squash. Finish a meal with sliced oranges sprinkled with coconut for a quick ambrosia or combined with pomegranate seeds.

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to whip up more than one course. From specialty cheese courses to crab cakes and dazzling desserts, Giant Eagle has you covered. Check out our Entertaining Guide for more details.

Get Help from the Kids

Get your children involved in holiday planning, and you'll discover new ways to save.

  • If your children are young, encourage them to focus on one item they want most.
  • If your children are older, ask them to help plan the holiday gift list and activities.
  • Find what's free. Public libraries offer seasonal activities that cost little or nothing, and communities often sponsor free seasonal events.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of family movie night! Redbox rentals are just $1 a night — and we carry a wide selection of seasonal flicks.

Economical Gift Ideas

  • Make a donation to a food pantry instead of exchanging gifts.
  • Create gift baskets. Someone who loves to cook will love a favorite recipe with the pantry ingredients and a Giant Eagle gift card for extras. College kids love snack baskets.