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The Holiday Dinner On A Budget

BOSTON (CBS) - Holiday foods are expensive and often there are special foods we only have this time of year. Those fancy roasts and hams served on Christmas and New Year's that are budget busters.

The grocery store will cater a prime rib dinner for 10 for $165, a ham dinner for $80, a turkey dinner for $130, and a leg of lamb dinner for $145. I think you can do it for a lot less.

So what can you do to keep your holiday traditions and not wreck the budget? We always have roast beast for dinner for my son loved the idea we were eating what the Whos down in Whoville ate for their Christmas dinner. My husband was happy with that for it meant we would be having beef instead of ham.

Many of the grocery stores are having beef on sale this week and instead of getting a tenderloin roast opt for an eye round roast for less. Most of the Whos in your house won't know the difference. Make lots of gravy.

Now if ham is the tradition here, again, you can find them on sale. I have seen the fancy hams priced at $8 to $12 a pound. The ham on sale at the grocery store is in the range of $3 to $4 a pound and if you get the boneless one there will be very little waste. Of course, you won't have the bone for your pea soup.

Make your own mashed potatoes. If you buy the refrigerator boxed potatoes it's about 90 cents a serving. If you make them yourself it's about 25 cents a serving made with butter and milk. And you can make them the day before and just reheat in the microwave or a double boiler.

Vegetables; fresh is best, if not fresh, frozen comes in second. Asparagus and broccoli are on sale for this week.

Desserts; pies are very easy with the pre-made crusts. Apple pies from the bakery are anywhere from $10-$17. You can make one for under $5 and it can be a deep-dish pie with lots of apples.

Cookies are a snap. You can buy the dough and make sugar cookies with the kids. The fun part is decorating them.

Alcohol is a budget buster. Start with a good bottle of wine and then open a lesser expensive bottle. If Uncle John traditionally drinks Brandy after dinner, ask him to bring it.

You can serve 10 people for under $50. You will need to spend your time if you don't spend your money.


You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee's Money Matters newsletter here.

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