One of the most anticipated events by Filipinos this holiday season is Noche Buena. Aside from being a feast, Noche Buena is a time of bonding and celebration with your family during Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately, celebrating Noche Buena can be particularly difficult these days. Many Filipinos have been laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic, meaning money’s going to be tight for many families today. To make matters worse, the prices of Noche Buena food like Lechon and ham have also increased.
Despite these events, It is still possible to hold a merry Noche Buena for you and your family. To help you accomplish this, here are six easy steps to remember when buying for your Noche Buena this year.
Plan Your Menu.
The first step you need to do when preparing for your Noche Buena is planning your menu. Doing so helps you avoid impulse buying when shopping. Making a Noche Buena menu also helps you know how much will you spend for your Noche Buena.
When planning your menu, be sure to consult your family about what they also want for Noche Buena. Unless you’re living alone, you won’t be shopping just for yourself, after all. To avoid confusion and bad feelings, consider what they want to eat and see if it’s within your budget. If it’s not, try to negotiate an alternative meal instead.
Make a Checklist Before Going Shopping.
The next step is making a checklist based on your menu. With money being tight, it’s essential to know what you need to buy and how many of it. Having a list of food and ingredients you need to buy helps keep you on track with your shopping and avoid unnecessary spending.
One thing that you should never forget is to ensure that your checklist is also within your budget. There’s not much point in making one if it exceeds your budget for Noche Buena, does it? If the dish you planned is too much for your budget, you can either use cheaper ingredients or make an alternative dish instead.
Stick to Your Checklist When Shopping.
Now that you have your menu and checklist ready, it’s time for you to buy your ingredients. But wait, your favorite bubble tea store is offering a Christmas promo. What’s that? There’s a sale on your favorite clothing store on the way to the supermarket. What are you going to do now?
With so many temptations abounding this holiday season, it’s easy to be tempted to spend your money on other things aside from your Noche Buena. So when you’re out shopping, prioritize sticking to your Noche Buena checklist before anything else. If you have some spare money after shopping, then go ahead and indulge yourself.
Shop for Food and Ingredients Ahead of Time.
Another tip when shopping for your Noche Buena is to do so ahead of time. Not only will this give you more time to look for ingredients, but it also helps you save money. As Noche Buena approaches, the prices for popular food for the occasion like ham will also increase. So if you want the best deal for your budget, you’d better start shopping early.
Another benefit of shopping early is that it lessens your risk of getting infected by Covid. As we all know, there is a higher risk of getting infected by Covid if you’re in a crowded area. Shopping early allows you to avoid crowds and get all you need for Noche Buena with time to spare.
Use Cheaper Alternatives for Expensive Ingredients or Food.
If you’re working on a tight budget, one way to buy all the ingredients you need is by using cheaper alternatives. For example, if the price of the condensed milk brand that you usually use has increased, you can purchase a cheaper one instead.
Another way you can save money while still having an excellent Noche Buena is by cooking cheaper meals. I know that some of you have staple meals during Noche Buena, such as ham and queso de bola. But times are changing, and tradition must sometimes take a backseat to practicality. Instead of these meals, why not buy chicken ham or make cheese sticks instead?
Bring Your Own Eco-Bag.
And for my last step, consider bringing an eco-bag with you when you’re shopping. I know, having one in your person can be an inconvenience. Having an eco-bag also saves you some money from buying one from the supermarket. An eco-bag is not only more durable than a paper bag, but it is also not banned like plastic bags.
Depending on the eco-bag’s size, it’s also more practical to carry one eco-bag than 2 or more plastic or paper bags. This is also handy if you’re commuting, as several plastic or paper bags take up more space than a single large eco-bag.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…
Chrismas for Filipinos would not be complete without celebrating Noche Buena. And despite the troubles we face today, we still put an effort to preparing for it. I hope that this article will help you prepare for your family’s Noche Buena this year. Remember, it is not the size of the feast that matters. It is the chance to bond and celebrate Christmas with your family that matters.