5 Holiday Cooking Tips: How to Save Time and Money

Enlist Some Help
Let other people handle side dishes and desserts, while you turn your attention to preparing a perfect turkey.
Let other people handle side dishes and desserts, while you turn your attention to preparing a perfect turkey.
© iStockphoto.com/marganl

It's finally time to mention the elephant in the room: The easiest way to save time and money around the holidays is clearly to eat at other people's houses, coasting through the season without dropping a dime on extra holiday feasting festivities. Just show up, eat your fill of delicious turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, pie and whatever else they're serving, and then skedaddle. You might even score a few leftovers if the host's fridge is too full.

Of course, in the real world that's not always possible -- or particularly polite on a regular basis without good reason. So if you end up the designated host for an occasion but are really strapped for time and cash, consider encouraging your guests to bring a side dish. Then you're free to focus on the main course, while the time and money needed to make the entire assemblage of food is scattered among several people.

Depending on different people's situations it's not always an option to foist some of the responsibility onto others. If this is the case, at least designate some helpers to assist you in the kitchen. Having someone around to mash the potatoes, pop the rolls in the oven or decrease the growing stack of dishes in the sink can save a lot of time in the long run.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Berner, Karen. "Saving Money on Your Local Holiday Meal." TheDailyGreen.com. (10/15/2009) http://www.wbaltv.com/food/21234453/detail.html
  • "Cooking tips for busy people." The Better Health Channel. August 2008. (10/14/2009) http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Cooking_tips_for_busy_people
  • "Cooking Tricks." SimpleAndDelicious.com. (10/14/2009) http://www.simpleanddelicious.com/tips-tricks/quick-tips/cooking-tricks.jsp
  • "Dining on a Dime." Kansas State UniversityAgricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Nov. 12, 2005. (10/14/2009) http://www.ces.purdue.edu/CES/LaPorte/files/CFS/Healthy.pdf
  • "Extension Specialist Offers Cost-Saving Holiday Meal Tips." Nov. 20, 1997. (10/14/2009) http://www.ncat.edu/~soa/news/nov97/holidaymeal.html
  • Harpold, Leslie. "How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner." The Morning News. Nov. 26, 2003. (10/15/2009) http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/how_to_cook_thanksgiving_dinner.php
  • Henneman, Alice. "Use Grocery List to Save Time, Eat Healthier." University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County. (10/14/2009) http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ciqb.htm
  • "Let kids share holiday cooking fun." Louisiana State UniversityAgricultural Center. Dec. 4, 2008. (10/14/2009) http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/en/communications/news/holidays/Let+kids+share+holiday+cooking+fun.htm
  • Paxton, Rachel. "Eight Time-Saving Cooking Tips." Pioneer Thinking. 2002. (10/14/2009) http://www.pioneerthinking.com/chcookingtips.html
  • Paxton, Rachel. "Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough." The Sideroad. (10/14/2009) http://www.sideroad.com/Cooking/freezing-cookies-dough.html
  • Sagon, Candy. "For the Juiciest meats, wait before you carve." Boca Raton News. March 5, 2003. (10/14/2009) http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=20030306&id=ec8PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5Y0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6638,2933104
  • "Saving Time in the Kitchen: Cooking Tips." Diabetic Lifestyle. March 2002. (10/14/2009) http://www.diabetic-lifestyle.com/articles/mar02_cooki_1.htm
  • "Time-Saving Tips." SimpleAndDelicious.com. (10/14/2009) http://www.simpleanddelicious.com/tips-tricks/quick-tips/time-saving-tips.jsp


Cuneiform Cookies Just in Time for the Holidays!

Cuneiform Cookies Just in Time for the Holidays!

If you love history and cookies, you might want to try this ancient twist on the gingerbread cookie. Learn more at HowStuffWorks Now.

More to Explore