Christmas is just around the corner, which means it’s just a matter of time before the most wonderful feast of the year. If you’re the one assigned to cook for Noche Buena, though, you may be stressing out rather than excitedly waiting for it to arrive. It’s hard not to feel pressured about it, though, given the expectation to prepare a variety of fancy dishes for this special occasion.
Fortunately, it’s more than possible to serve up a scrumptious holiday spread without breaking the bank. It just takes a bit of creative thinking and planning ahead to ensure that you stay within budget. If you’re ready to impress your relatives with both your cooking and your budgeting prowess, read on for tips on pulling this off.
Keep Your Menu Simple
Many home chefs make the mistake of biting off more than they can chew. In this case, it’s attempting to prepare a dozen meals at once for just a night of celebration. Unfortunately, that means you’ll have less time to get each dish done just right. Sure, you might finish making a lot of different dishes, but they may end up lacking in flavor or impact as a result.
When it comes to something as special as Noche Buena, it’s best to focus on quality rather than quantity. For more intimate gatherings, for example, you can prepare the basics: one appetizer, one main dish, one or two side dishes, and one dessert.
Not only will you spend less on ingredients, but you’ll also be able to give your full efforts for each meal. After all, it’s better to serve your loved ones a few memorable dishes rather than an underwhelming buffet.
Try Switching Out Brands or Ingredients
Did you know there are lesser known brands that are cheaper but equally as good as their more popular counterparts? If you’re lucky, some of them could cost half your usual brand!
Before you reach for that mysterious can or pack, though, make sure to research which brands are actually worth trying. Unfortunately, there are some brands that are cheap precisely because of their inferior quality, and you don’t want those ingredients to end up in your Noche Buena offerings.
If you can’t find a decent brand alternative, then consider substituting the ingredient for another one entirely. For example, you can switch out a fancy ingredient such as cheddar cheese for more affordable processed cheese. You can even replace premium unsalted butter with margarine. For some recipes, you can even omit certain ingredients entirely without affecting the flavor, especially if they’re just meant to be used for garnishing.
Keep a Separate Noche Buena Fund
With the whirlwind of holiday shopping sprees, it can be hard to keep track of your finances. If you’re having trouble keeping an eye on your transactions, though, you might end up with nothing left to spend for Noche Buena!
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your emergency fund in a separate bank account. You can then open a separate savings account for your shopping money, which should ideally cover your expected expenses for Noche Buena, too.
It might sound like a lot of work to open another bank account, but with Robinsons Bank’s Simple Savings Account, you can sign up from the comfort of your own home with just an initial deposit of PHP 100.00. All you need is a filled-out application form, a valid ID, and a photo of your signature, and you’re good to go!
Even with a modest budget, you can definitely pull off an amazing Noche Buena with just a bit of creative planning. Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to serve a feast that your family will be raving about for years to come.