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Preparing for your holiday meals without breaking the bank


  Kailey Foster: The holidays are just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about the meals we'll be sharing with our families and friends. USU Extension Emeritus Faculty,Theresa Hunsaker joins me to talk about ways we can cut back on our costs this season.

So what are some shopping tips you have for our listeners?

Theresa Hunsaker: Oh, you know, one of the very first things I think is important, as a reminder is to make a list, have a plan. What are some things that you can cut back on? I don't have to have three vegetable dishes, for example, we always have corn and roasted brussels sprouts and that famous creamy bean casserole. Then maybe we can cut some of those vegetables out. Maybe I cut the corn out, that type of thing. 

Another thing is, I'm making my list, is to shop by my pantry first. What do I already have on hand? Do I happen to have an extra can of pumpkin still left over that I got earlier in the season or even last year? Is it still good? Or some cranberry sauce, that type of thing. So, shop at home in the pantry, the fruit room, and things like that with what you already have on hand, that's going to be a way to adjust the price.

Another thing too is to watch the sales and the promotions because this is the time of year when we are seeing promotions. You know, it's interesting across this country, we are worried about the rising food costs inflation in general right now. But they're predicting that the average family for Thanksgiving and their holiday meals overall will have about a 25% to 30% increase in the cost. So that means for every $100 that I normally would have spent maybe last year I'm now at $125 to $130.

KF: And so we went shopping and now we're getting ready to prepare these different meals. What advice or tips do you have for our listeners that are at this point?

TH: One of the very first things that I would do as far as the preparation is if you have guests that are coming, ask them to bring things. Most people do this already but be sure to share some of the financial load as well as the preparation load by having guests bring just even one dish. This will make a difference for you.

Another thing is to know the difference in cost time and effort between making something from scratch and buying it already prepared, or at least a mix or something like that.

KF: And what are some general words of advice do you have for people getting ready for the holidays, especially during these times?

TH: Well, I think the first thing is you know set your budget to kind of look at sales and promotions, as we've already mentioned, but maybe even think outside the box. Also, consider what other costs you have. I think another thing is to simplify just sit back and enjoy the holidays enjoy being together. And by having a plan you can do that.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.