Cheapass Christmass Part 5: Food!
I love this idea, but as many lower-income Americans will attest, the siren's song of Walmart is one that is hard to avoid. One of the downfalls of being "enlightened" is that it's hard to spare the extra bucks in gas to buy a fresh butchered turkey from Farmer Joe-Bob's turkey farm 20 miles out of town; or to take time off from work to drive downtown to attend a farmer's market that is open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every other Wednesday that Mercury is in on the cusp of Jupiter to buy the vegetables to serve on the side. And like a lot of lower income Americans I'm addicted to cheap and convenient.
So I give you the next best thing--homemade Christmas dinner. My hope is that by buying the core ingredients to our Christmas feast that I can save some money by not using pre-packaged dinner items. It may seem odd highlighting this so many days before Christmas, but with many from-scratch items on the menu, planning is the name of the game.
Here's the run down of our Christmas day menu:
Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls
Now this is a tradition my mother started when we became older. Halfway through the gift unwrapping melee my father would unvariably need a bathroom break. (Ah, fond Christmas memories!) and this would be when my mom would pop into the oven a pan of those cinnamon rolls you can buy in those exploding tubes.
This year to save the $2.59 it costs to purchase an exploding tube of cinnamon rolls I'll be making my own from scratch. Since I always have flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, baking soda, and powdered sugar on hand I'm not to going to deduct any money from my budget here. I know some of you guys are sticklers for nailing down every cent (*cough*Cristi*cough!*).
(yes, that's a dead ant on the stove--don't get me started...)
Lunch: Fend for yourself
Dr. Mad Scientist and I prefer to eat our Christmas (and Thanksgiving for that matter) dinner at a regular dinner time. This means lunch will commence as usual. Again we'll be using "staple" lunch items such as a PB&J sandwich, microwave burrito, grilled cheese sandwich, you get the picture.
My apologies, frozen chimichangas.
Dinner: Turkey and all the fixin's!
Sausage cornbread stuffing
*I tried to find a bag of plain unseasoned wild rice, but alas, I had to settle for one of those boxes of generic Auntie Ben's.
Again, since these are merely flour, water, yeast, sugar, and butter, all things I have on hand at all times, I won't be deducting money from my budget for these.
5 lb bag-$1.94
Okay, I haven't bought the veggie yet to cut down on the possiblity of spoilage before Christmas. But I'll estimate the broccoli/greenbeans/asparagus to cost say $3.00.
Sparkling apple cider
$2.08 (A total splurge I know! But if I could make it I would!)
Mmm...is that a frozen turkey in your freezer or are you just happy to see me?
Dessert: Mormon salad
2 cans of crushed pinapple-$1.98
2 packages of instant pistachio pudding-$1.00
Mixing all of that up sounds quite disgusting, I know, but oh-so-delicious! We call it Mormon salad because Dr. Mad Scientist was raised Mormon and they come up with these great ideas of how to feed a bunch of kids for real cheap. My recipe for this salad makes up enough to serve 20 easy and it keeps for weeks in the fridge.
So all told my Christmas day fixin's ended up costing me $40.79 total. All I really saved was money on the stuffing, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls. It might seem inherently cheaper to buy the frozen crescent rolls or boxed stuffing, but pound for pound I think my stuff comes out cheaper. Not to mention we'll have a good week of leftovers from all of this food as well!
And of course as any thrifty shopper will tell you, it's easy to save money with coupons, buying store brands and/or buying the brand of item you're looking for that's on sale when the normal brand you buy is not on sale. But that's all common cheapass sense! I used a couple of coupons and bought a lot of store-brand and sale items when I went shopping for our Christmas meals.
Total Remaining Of $250.00 Budget Goal: $162.45*
*This total was arrived at by using the final total of budget money left after Cheapass Christmass Week 4
Aw geeze, THIS is going to get interesting! I have yet to do ANY Christmas shopping for Chunky. And the hardest part of all? Getting Dr. Mad Scientist to rein in the spending to keep us under $250. Let's just say if I spent money like he likes to--we'd have matching fridge boxes a block down from the Alamo. We'd be saving our pennies to buy Chunky is own washing machine box. Ha ha!
Next Thursday I'm taking a day off from Cheapass Christmass.
Instead on Christmas (or the day after) I'll be posting the final installation where I unveil some of the cheapass presents I made that I can't post on here because of certain readers. I'll detail my purchases for Chunky's Christmas presents and I'll be unveiling whether or not I made my $250 budget or not.
However, I'm asking for your help in the final installation of Cheapass Christmass. Do you have a cheapass present or decoration that you made/found that you are particularly fond of? Or maybe you have a cheapass tip to share that I haven't covered that would be helpful. Email me a picture, tip, the link to your blog entry or whatever, and I'll feature it here. You can email me at: rkbezzie @ gmail . com. (Obviously delete the spaces in the email address).
I've seen some great cheapass examples of gifts, etc. on the web so don't be surprised if you see a link to your own blog on here on Christmas!