Savor and Save This Thanksgiving
Holiday Grocery Saving Tips and Inexpensive Gift Ideas from the Coupon Mom
Statistics show that November and December are the biggest months of the year for grocery spending. Families eat together at home, people entertain, and many people give food gifts during the holidays to friends, neighbors and teachers.
Fortunately, this is also the best time of year to get great grocery deals! In fact, most grocery coupons are issued during the holiday months of November, December and in January (for New Year’s budget resolutions). Statistics reveal that manufacturers issue twice as many coupons at this time of year than in the summertime!
Grocery stores, discount stores and warehouse clubs compete for our business by offering rock bottom deals on common holiday meal items, baking ingredients, and frozen foods. When you pay attention to sales, combine them with coupons, and stock up on great deals now, you can really save. You’ll have more to spend on holiday gifts!
In November, Thanksgiving promotions include frozen turkeys (which will last a full year in the freezer), ham, bottled juices, baking ingredients, cake mixes, cookie mixes, frozen vegetables, canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, canned fruits, canned cooking soups and more. You can check the “Grocery Deals by State” section of www.couponmom.com to find the best deals at your store each week—the site matches grocery deals with coupons available at 60 grocery retailers covering 50 states.
Then view the coupons available in your Sunday paper in the “Virtual Coupon Organizer” section at www.couponmom.com.
Of course, this is also the “food drive season,” when most grocery stores, churches, schools and other places of worship have convenient collection bins for non-perishable food donations. Charities receive as much as 80% of their annual food donations during November and December food drives. Take advantage of some of the grocery deals to help your neighbors, too.
If you have limited pantry space, you can get creative by using some of your best grocery deals to make holiday gifts for neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members. Examples of inexpensive, thoughtful gifts include:
- Homemade baking mixes, layered in jars or plastic storage bags. Layer the dry ingredients for your favorite cookie or muffin mix, and attach a recipe card with instructions to add the wet ingredients, the baking temperature and baking time. Write the recipe for the mix with colorful markers on a simple card, tied to the package with a ribbon. Buy baking ingredients at rock bottom prices like flour, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and nuts. You can find many good homemade mix recipes for cookies, soups, cocoa mix and more at www.frugalhomemaker.com. Look for the “gift mixes” link on the left side.
- You can also bake muffins, cookies and breads as gifts. Take advantage of canned pumpkin on sale in clearance bins after Thanksgiving to make muffins, frosted bars, cookies, breads and even pumpkin soup for dinner. Freeze muffins and breads for easy breakfasts and snacks for the kids—pumpkin is very high in vitamins.
- For an easy, very inexpensive idea to use canned pumpkin and cake mix bargains, try this recipe: Combine one box of cake mix (or Spice Cake Mix works well, although any flavor will do) and one 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin. Mix until well blended. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake per instructions on cake mix box. Very easy, delicious, and will stay moist for days.
Stephanie Nelson shares her savings tips as a regular contributor on ABC News’ Good Morning America. You can find more of her savings tips in her book “The Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom” and on her website at www.couponmom.com. Copyright 2006 Stephanie Nelson