holiday dinner budget

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Put Your Budget Ahead of Your Menu
Whether you're setting aside $100 or $500 to host a holiday meal, figuring out how much to allocate for each component is the best way to make sure you don't spend way more than you wanted to. The biggest chunk (50 percent) will probably go to meat; reserve about 20 percent for appetizers and sides; 15 percent for dessert; and, 15 percent for alcohol, advises consumer and frugal living expert Lauren Greutman. Once you've determined how much money you've got for each component, you can start planning whether you're serving lobster or pigs in a blanket (or both!).