Last holiday season, the Covid-19 pandemic was raging across the globe, most of us unable to escape it; whether that was due to missing loved ones at the dinner table, event cancellations or simply not having the usual salary to buy the food and gifts that they’d like.
This year, things look different. Although Covid-19 is still very much present, strict lockdowns are enforced only in a few countries and we have a chance to reclaim the traditional holiday spirit. You can sense the excitement 🥳
With stores open and no doubt beautifully decorated for the season ahead, it’s easy to get swept up in the festive cheer and add things to your basket that you don’t really need. Instant gratification and last-minute shopping at this time are a dangerous combination for your wallet! And almost inevitably lead to waste – especially food waste.
Food brands are more than happy to help whip us up into this excitement too. They utilize their online channels and use AI-targeted marketing to play on our sense of festive cheer. They are showing us items tailored to our desires and sell us a cart full of food we do not need/want or usually consume at any other time. Wherever you shop, you will face a barrage of clever marketing techniques to get you to overbuy.
We’ve listed some tips below to help you plan a special holiday without feeling remorse after having wasted money and resources! Your wallet and the environment will thank you for taking caution.
1. Set a budget
The temptation to overspend on festive food is always present over the holiday season. It is, after all, traditionally a time of excess, and after so long in isolation, people are ready to make up for lost time and go all out. While we’re all for families getting together and having a good time, we want to urge people to be cautious with how much they approach these temptations.
The holiday season can be the most expensive time of year, with presents and extra special food to purchase. Now is the time to be realistic about how much you can really afford to spend. Make a budget that factors in the extra expenses and stick to it!
The desire to have bigger celebrations this year is understandable, but you may find that it works out more expensive than you anticipate. There has been a global rise in food prices, with them increasing by 33% in September 2021 and set to continue rising. While this is partly due to Covid-19, there has also been widespread inflation.
2. Plan your meals early
Taking the time to research what meals you want to cook can be fun, especially if you take the time to enjoy it! Think carefully about how many people you are cooking for, and how much they are likely to eat. Will you need to offer snacks as well as the main meal? How many courses will you serve? What will you offer people to drink?
Thinking about this level of detail early will help you set a realistic plan. Once you know what you want to cook, the next step is to make a detailed list.
Using the CozZo app can make this process much easier and more efficient. Firstly, create an inventory of your cupboard and fridge in the app. Then add the recipes that you want to cook directly from the website or cookbook, saving them in a special folder. You can even scale the recipe to get the right amount of ingredients for the people you are cooking for.
The app will highlight any ingredients that you need to purchase, so you can be sure that you don’t end up buying the same thing twice or missing something vital.
3. Prepare for unexpected guests, but don’t hoard!
Don’t forget that you may have unexpected visitors around the holiday period. For this reason, you might want to keep some tasty snacks in your store cupboard.
Go for things that you will eat yourself in the coming months in case they don’t get used, and make sure they have long expiry dates for this reason. Bags of nuts, biscuits and even baking ingredients in case you have time to cook something from scratch are useful. Adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg adds a seasonal flavor that can also be enjoyed year-round.
Just don’t buy bulk items of festive-themed goods, even if there’s a good deal on in the supermarket. These are just marketing ploys to get you to spend more!
You risk ending up with a cupboard full of Santa-shaped cookies in January when you won’t want to serve them to guests. Chances are you’ll end up eating them yourself just to get rid of them, which is not what your body needs after an indulgent holiday season!
4. Don’t forget to plan for your regular household meals
Christmas and Thanksgiving aren’t just about lavish meals and celebrations! You’re likely going to have days when you stay at home, without guests, and want to eat your normal diet.
If you can, try to plan for this by having items in your cupboard that you can easily reach for and make a meal. But don’t overstock on fruits and vegetables in case you simply don’t feel like them over the holidays.
While you may have aspirations of eating a healthy, balanced diet over the holiday season, chances are you just might not stick to it. And that’s ok! It’s easy to pop out to the shop to buy these things when you know you will eat them, rather than fill your trolley with fresh produce that will go to waste in the fridge.
Using Cozzo to keep an inventory of your food will help you identify meals that are available to you immediately and prevent overbuying.
5. Make the most of frozen foods and long-life items
Fresh food items may be harder to get this year, but luckily frozen fruit and veg are just as nutritious and often cheaper too.
The variety of frozen food available today is impressive and the quality is often just as good, if not better, than fresh. You will save yourself a lot of time and worry by having things like pastries, pies and desserts in your freezer alongside frozen vegetables and fruit.
Purchase in advance and the amount of shopping and spending you will have to do in the weeks leading up to the festivities will be massively reduced.
6. Don’t panic!
Global events are adding to our sense of urgency. Shipping issues are happening all over the globe, fuelled by Covid-19 related labor shortages and the Suez Canal disaster. The deep freeze in Texas has caused issues in the US, while Brexit has led to shortages of staff in the UK.
It’s likely that grocery store shelves won’t be restocked as quickly this year due to these issues. But this doesn’t mean that the items aren’t in storage. We will all have to learn to be more patient and not panic buy! Not only is this not necessary, but it also causes issues for other people who won’t be able to buy the essentials that they need.
No one wants to recreate the panic buying of toilet rolls that we saw at the start of the pandemic!
By all means, treat yourself and your loved one this holiday season. Just don’t go overboard and spend the first weeks of 2022 regretting your purchases and throwing away food and getting cross at the waste.
With some careful planning and help from smart technology like the Cozzo App, Christmas can still be merry and bright this year!