No thanks to the additional taxes imposed, the prices of basic commodities are higher than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Since Filipinos take holiday season seriously, most of us are willing to make necessary adjustments to be able to prepare a feast in the most wonderful time of the year.
Is that even possible?
Check out these food shopping tips to help you prepare for the coming holiday season:
Tipid Tip No. 1: Start with planning.
Before you make a trip to the grocery, you need to have a clear and defined idea of what to buy. Therefore, you need to have:
- Shopping list
You need to know what to cook; hence menu. Decide how many viands you plan to cook as well as the appetizer or dessert. You also need to consider how many people will eat; hence the budget. The prices of goods are higher now compared before, so make sure you check the prices of the ingredients you will need to give you an estimate on your budget. If you will be celebrating the holidays with your big family, then consider splitting expenses equally so everyone gets to give their respective share. Lastly, the shopping list. This will serve as your guide while you're doing your grocery shopping. This way, you stick to what you really need and avoid deviating from it.
Tipid Tip No. 2: Share expenses.
This will work if you will celebrate with other members of your family. Instead of shouldering all the food on the table, assign what food to bring per family. Use this as an opportunity to showcase your best dishes. You get to cut your food expenses because everyone will contribute.
Tipid Tip No. 3: Always compare prices.
This is a must. Supermarkets charge different prices, say few pesos higher or lower, for the same product. Before you buy, check out the prices charged by each supermaket for every food on your shopping list.
When you compare, make sure you look at it wholly or the total savings you could get and not per price-per-item difference. Consider cheaper alternatives too like markets since you could get ingredients at cheaper prices than the ones sold in the supermarket.
Tipid Tip No. 4: Avoid the Christmas rush.
Did you know that prices are usually higher when Christmas is almost near? Retailers figured that people are willing to buy during Christmas, regardless of the price. They will take advantage of it by charging higher-than-usual prices and you have no choice but to pay since you need these items.
Therefore, start your shopping as early as now. You don't have to buy everything on your list now, especially when you're still waiting for your Christmas bonus. Buy few items early whenever you can.
Tipid Tip No. 5: Consider homemade food businesses.
You know that neighbor who makes the best relleno? How about that officemate who bakes the yummiest yema cake? Or a friend who sells homemade ham during Christmas?
For your Noche Buena or Buena Noche, consider buying from homemade food business owners because not only do they sell great food but also they are cheaper compared to the food items sold in the market. The best part is you help small business owners have a happy Christmas too.
Tipid Tip No. 6: Try cheaper food alternatives.
Lechon will look really good on the table, but can you afford it? No pun intended here, but sometimes, especially in this time where prices are high, you need to consider cheaper food alternatives.
For instance, go for chicken instead of beef or pork for your main dish. Trade your beef caldereta with chicken caldereta or make roast chicken instead of steak. If you want something crispy, lechon kawali is a good alternative for lechon. Spaghetti or carbonara is good but if you're on a tight budget, pancit will do.
The bottom line is this: food is and will always be essential during the holiday season, but it's only one part of what this is all about. The more important thing is new memories and experiences you shared with people who matter most in your life.