Entertaining Instead of Grocery Shopping
Let's face it, the reason most of us dread entertaining is not because we don't enjoy having people over...it is all the planning and getting ready! Planning for a party can be tough, but once everything is into place, you can only then begin your big sigh of relief.
One of the big things for me is always the buying and planning the food for my parties. Fortunately, there are options for shopping when you don't actually want to spend a bunch of time at the supermarket.
Sam's Club, for example, offers a free service called Click 'N' Pull for their customers. It is not only free, but also a wonderful way to save time and money in their store. To take advantage of these services, you sign up for your online account and then begin doing your shopping. Although they have items listed by category, I find that the search function is much easier to use and I just type in what I am looking for. Add the items to your cart and complete the check out process. Sam's will send you an email when your order is ready and you just head right to the front customer service desk to pick up your groceries. They will scan your card and a bar code for your order. With two scans, you have completed the check out process and can be on your way. The groceries will be at the front for you (Side Note: Refrigerated items and frozen items will be brought up when you arrive by a store employee) and you can get home to do your prep work for your party.
Online grocery shopping is also quite popular right now, but you do need to understand all of the ins and outs for it to actually be an affordable experience. Online grocers offer specials of the week and if you are planning a holiday get together, you can do all of your planning around the sale items, just as you can do with the sale fliers from the grocery store.
If you have an older child that you know (and trust) that could do the holiday shopping for you...employ them! It not only helps make your child feel useful for helping with the party, but it is also a great way for them to make a little extra holiday cash (possibly to spend on a present for you?) Ask if you can give them a little money and they can make the grocery run for you. Give them bonus cash if they can stay under "X" amount of dollars. This will challenge them to not only check what they are putting in their cart, but also offers a reward incentive to do smart comparison shopping. Now that is a lesson that every child should go into the world with!
If all else fails and you just can't make it to the grocery store at all, it is time to assess your freezer situation and your pantry. Are there items in there that you can use to make a holiday party without spending a dime? Utilize ingredient searches to create festive dishes for items you already have.
Do you have a strategy for tackling grocery shopping when entertaining? Share your techniques!