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Thrifty Feasting: Holiday Meals to Keep you and your Wallet Full

October 22, 2018 | By Ana Elliot

It is undoubtedly the holidays. Halloween is a few days away and pretty soon Thanksgiving will be upon us. It’s the seasons of pumpkins, chestnuts, and warm comforting meals that bring the family together. A holiday dinner is one of the many pleasures of the season but, it is also a bit of a curse. A family dinner – especially one that prizes turkey or ham and tons of side dishes – can cost quite a bit. If you are trying to get through the holidays with some money still in your pocket for the New Year without having to get an installment loan, then spending a lot on delicious meals might not be for you.

Before you pack up your holiday napkins and china, a holiday feast is not out of your reach! Check out these finance friendly ideas that will bring the warm and comforting feelings of the season to those you love!

Main Dishes

It’s important that the star of your holiday meal embodies all the taste and joy of the classics. That being said, you do not need to sink a ton of money into a turkey or a whole ham or a lamb roast. Instead why not looking at a whole frozen chicken to roast? Or perhaps a pork shoulder or loin? Cheaper meats generally have bad raps but a hearty stewed meat is the perfect meal to warm you on a holiday night.

If you are feeling really classic and don’t want to walk too far away from the beloved turkey, try a nice roast chicken on for size. If you buy a whole frozen chicken, you’ll get it for a much lower price and with way less leftovers to take up space in your fridge. You can even season the roasted chicken just like you would your favorite turkey, and making a roast chicken takes less time and is easier to get right!

If you want to try something a little more unconventional, try a roast beef recipe. Tender meat backed with flavor? Sign me up! Here is a hearty, delicious, and cost friendly recipe from the Teely’s on Food Network. Their recipe has few ingredients but the magic is in the combination!

Or, how about a nice big dish of delicious pasta? Baked ziti is the kind of dish that can hold its own amidst a table of sides and has all the comfort and joy you could ask for in a holiday meal. And? Pasta is so cheap!

Side Dishes

Side dishes can help make any holiday meal. The key to a budget-friendly array of sides is 1. Keep it simple. Don’t have 10 sides. Pick one starch and one veggie and if you are feeling really crazy, maybe get some dinner rolls. Things like mashed potatoes are really budget friendly. You can even rethink holiday favs to save on money and calories! Why not do garlic sauteed green beans instead of a green bean casserole? Or you could try something like Giada De Laurentiis’s Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts; that will take care of your veggies and starches all in one dish!


Once you’ve got the main courses taken care of, you’ll need to find a great dessert to cap off the evening. Things like pumpkin dump cakes are simple and easy and there are tons of recipes available online. You can even do something like cookies, which are not only easy and cheap, but you can pack some up as to go presents for your guests, too.

Hopefully these ideas have helped you expand your holiday dinner conceptions and maybe even started some ideas for a menu or two. Remember, there is a wealth of knowledge and tips online you can use to create the perfect menu for you and your family. With a little know how and creative thinking, you could have yourself a very merry meal. Happy Holiday Eating!