Heads up, cooking mommies and daddies! Have you planned out your Noche Buena meals or are you still thinking how to minimize your expenses? It can be a little challenging to get into a festive mode with the current all-time high inflation rate of 7.7% and rising Noche Buena item prices, especially if you’re still trying to figure out how to save money for Christmas this year. You should, nevertheless, spend your Christmas vacation with the important people in your life.
Worry not, because you can arrange a delicious Christmas meal for your loved ones even on a small budget. You only need to be “madiskarte” and “wais”. In this article, we have compiled Christmas preparation advice that you should have in mind as you go food shopping and get ready for Noche Buena.
Tip 1: Create a budget, menu, and shopping list for your Noche Buena.
The holiday season is a really exciting time to shop. However, even after receiving your annual bonuses and 13th month pay, this shouldn’t be a ticket for you to indulge in excessive spending. Make sure you are completely aware of the amount you are willing to spend on your Noche Buena shopping in order to adhere to your budget for Christmas. Consider how many people you’ll be sharing a meal with on Christmas Eve.
Create a Noche Buena menu that fits your spending limit. Think about how many individuals will be joining you for Noche Buena. For instance, if your Noche Buena budget is P1,000 and you have a big family or plenty of visitors, you can’t go all out. For that, take into consideration a straightforward appetizer, main dish, and dessert Noche Buena meal.
Make a list of everything you need to buy based on your menu and budget. Mark out any free gifts you anticipate getting, such as a Noche Buena food basket or package from your employer or some canned goods from your balikbayan relatives. Take note of their prices in addition to the products you need to purchase. Check the suggested retail pricing for Noche Buena products in the Philippines using the e-Presyo system of the Department of Trade and Industry. This helps you determine which things are out of your price range and whether there are less priced options.
Tip 2: Compare the products costs across several places.
Certain Noche Buena goods have different prices at various supermarkets. Prices may even vary at two supermarkets that are owned by the same company but located in separate cities.
Find out which grocery stores in your neighborhood have the cheapest prices. Alternately, you may shop for Noche Buena in separate trips, choosing, for example, the cheapest ham at Store A and the cheapest spaghetti ingredients at Store B. For instance, Puregold and Savemore frequently have cheaper Noche Buena packages than other supermarkets.
Of course, you shouldn’t just focus on the prices of items at supermarkets. See if you can save more by taking the cost of going to multiple grocery stores into account. Also, take into account the time it takes you to go to various locations as well. In the end, you might have spent more on transportation but saved more on goods.
Tip 3: Do not buy your Noche Buena on the last minute.
As Christmas gets closer, the cost of Noche Buena packages and individual items increases, so start your shopping as soon as you can.
Start purchasing a few products early if you don’t yet have enough money, such as pasta, noodles, sauces, fruit drinks, and other food items you can stock up on until Christmas. You don’t have to purchase everything at once. Start purchasing a few items from your Noche Buena food list at a time.
Tip 4: Select Less Well-Known Brands.
If you want to reduce your spending this year, you’ll have to switch brands. Higher-end and imported brands are more expensive than lesser-known ones. The differences in flavor and quality might not be very noticeable. This holiday season, choose local brands to save more money.
Tip 5: Don’t Restrict Yourself to Grocery Stores or Supermarkets.
Compared to air-conditioned grocery stores, public wet markets and flea markets often provide more affordable goods. Specifically to meat, fish, and poultry. With your “suki”, you can even negotiate the price per kilogram.
Tip 6: Purchase a Product in Smaller Portions.
Buying in bulk when doing your family’s weekly grocery shopping will help you save money but when you are purchasing seasonal Noche Buena goods, it is different. They are only used once, and they might not last enough for future uses.
It is recommendable to buy ingredients by the gram, slice, piece, or anything tingi because the majority of ingredients for Noche Buena meal tend to spoil after some time. For instance, buying ham slices rather than a kg of ham will save you more money (particularly if you have a small family).
Tip 7: Consider inexpensive alternatives for the traditional Noche Buena recipes.
Quezo de bola is not necessary to be served every year just because custom dictates it. Pick cheaper cheese varieties that can be used in various meals even after the holidays and still taste great. These days, meat and seafood are extremely pricey. Instead of beef or pig, think about serving chicken as your main course.
That’s it! Now, that the prices of everything goes up, it’s important to budget our money well so we will not regret being shopping spree next year. Happy holliday everyone!