How To Be The Host With The Most Without Draining Your Account


Hosting a holiday meal is one of the stressful parts of any holiday. Sure, it’s great to help everyone get together under one roof as part of a fantastic tradition. On the other, though, feeding many people can put a serious strain on your budget. With holiday gifts to buy, a strain like that really can’t come at a worse time! 

Fortunately, it’s possible to be a great host and a great saver at the same time. It’s not easy, but you can put on a great holiday meal without breaking the budget. Try these 3 handy tips to save this year!
 

1.) Plan
If there’s a law written in a personal finance stone tablet, it’s “always make a plan.” It doesn’t need to be detailed, but it should identify your needs for a project and how you intend to meet them. For a meal, that should include both what you intend to put on the table and anything else you need to make your guests comfortable.
Obviously, the earlier you start making your plan, the better off you’ll be. Having a plan in place lets you take advantage of the rotating grocery specials. You can incorporate more seasonal produce, meaning you’ll cook a better tasting and more nutritious meal at a better price. The plan also lets you make a budget for your holiday meal spending while not having to put big shopping trips on credit cards. The memories of a wonderful family meal should stick around for years; a debt to pay for it all should not!
2.) Delegate
The sheer volume of tasks that go along with hosting a holiday meal can quickly get overwhelming. Beyond the meal, you need to clean and tidy up, decorate, and make sure your house is stocked with essentials, like hand soap and toilet paper. Even listing all the steps involved can get exhausting!
That’s why it’s important to recognize the tasks that need your individual attention and separate them from the tasks that can be done by someone else. While you may be doing most of the cooking, outsource the meal planning to a family member. Give them the guest list and ask them to help you come up with recipes that will satisfy the crowd. You can also get kids involved in making and placing decorations, which may help get them in the holiday spirit as well. While it’s likely too imposing to ask guests to bring toiletries as part of a potluck, you may be able to fold that shopping into your ordinary shopping and avoid extra last-minute trips.
By delegating responsibilities, you make the task of putting together a wonderful time more manageable. This decreases the temptation to find a quick, easy and potentially expensive, solution at the last minute. Budgets tend to explode most often when there’s a serious time or energy crunch. Avoid that crunch by getting help wherever you can.
3.) Substitute
While everyone loves a nice holiday roast, cuts of beef big enough to serve an entire family can easily cost $200 or more. Instead, look for seasonal specialties, like spiral cut ham. You can also get good prices on turkey breast or whole chicken, both of which can easily feed an army without draining your checking account. If you have the time, slow-cooking cheap cuts of pork (belly or shoulder) can make ham or bacon that’s tastier than what you get at the supermarket, but for a lower price. It will cure in the fridge for several days, and then needs to be cooked. A smoker is best for this process, but a standard grill can work in a pinch.
You can use the same home cooking ingenuity to save on side dishes. One of the best ways to feed lots of people without breaking the bank is to use root vegetables, which are cheap and filling. Rubbing parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes or carrots with salt and pepper before throwing them in the oven for 40 minutes on medium heat can turn ordinary produce into delicious sides. Serve these instead of more expensive, less nutritious, canned or frozen vegetables.
Finally, don’t forget to substitute other people’s cooking for your own. Guests like to feel included in the preparation process. Ask your guests to bring desserts or sides, while you focus on getting your main dishes ready. This will save you both time and money.
Don’t forget that the best things about the holiday are free. Time spent with friends and family, telling stories and making memories, is more important than how much food you put on the table. Your guests will remember the shared experience of the holidays more than what was on their plates, so focus on being gracious and calm while making your guests feel welcome.
Happy holidays!
Your Turn: What’s your best holiday budget survival tip? Do you have any go-to tips or tricks that saves on costs? Let us know how you host with the most (without spending the most) in the comments!

Was There A Credit Union At The First Thanksgiving?


Was there a credit union at the first Thanksgiving?

The short answer is no, there was not. The first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621, which was 150 years before the creation of the first credit unions. In fact, the first modern financial institutions wouldn’t reach the country of the Pilgrims’ origin until the middle of the 17th century.  However, the Pilgrims did believe in many of the principles that would come to define the credit union movement that swept the globe in the 19th and 20th centuries. 
The Pilgrims wanted to work together as a community.
While the extent of the religious persecution endured by the Pilgrims is a matter of debate, it is clear that they were united by a sense of community and togetherness.  Convinced they couldn’t maintain the values that most mattered to them if they stayed in England, they risked life and limb to cross the ocean, hoping to build better lives for their families.
That’s really the basis for credit unions.  We believe that, if we work together, we’ll all be better off. Destinations Credit Union is made up of members and employees that live in our community.  We work together and our kids play together.  There’s a good chance that, if it’s snowing on you, we’re shoveling our driveways, too. 
The Pilgrims were unsatisfied with a financial system that took away their power. 
When the Pilgrims wanted to travel to the New World, it was a difficult and expensive task.  A group who wanted to leave Europe would need to find an experienced captain, which was no easy task at a time when crossing the Atlantic took months and often killed those foolhardy souls who were willing to take on the challenge.  Then that group needed to pay the crew, save enough food and supplies for the journey and pay all sorts of taxes and fees.  In order to come up with enough money to make the trip, they couldn’t just get pre-approved online. There was no “online” or “pre-approved” or even a financial institution.
Instead, loan decisions were made by the King or a few incredibly wealthy individuals.  In today’s context, it would be like getting a small loan to start a business but your only choice of lenders were Barack Obama or the owner of your nearest NFL team.  The Pilgrims were denied a charter for a new colony by King James I, so they had no choice but to seek out the wealthiest individual they could find.  In their case, they secured a loan from Thomas Weston to pay for the trip.
Credit unions were first formed for the same reason.  As a drought ravaged parts of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, few banks were willing to extend loans to farmers who were unlikely to be able to repay the debts.  Of course, that meant that the drought turned into a famine, as farmers who have no food to sell and no capital to buy seeds have little chance to make money, which means they had no opportunity to buy food.  The first credit unions extended loans to these farmers, saving their communities from starvation.  Suddenly, people realized that they didn’t have to be powerless in the face of super-rich individuals who didn’t have their best interests at heart. 
They could have used a much better loan 
We all learned in grade school that the Pilgrims carried all of their possessions with them, and the historical record confirms that the passengers on the Mayflower were very poor, even for 17th-century colonists, a particularly poverty-stricken lot.  So, how on Earth did they secure the loan to head to the New World?  It was pretty ugly.  The terms of the loan were seven years of indentured servitude.  They wouldn’t make any profit or own any land for seven years, at the end of which half of the land would revert to Weston and the company to whom he sold shares in the Mayflower voyage.

At Destinations Credit Union, we don’t have shareholders, we have members.  We are not driven to generate profits for the pure sake of looking good on a quarterly report or justify embarrassingly large bonuses that mega-bank executives award themselves.  The money generated by your credit union is put into lowering the interest charges on your loans, reducing fees, enhancing our technology and more. You’ll never get a loan from us that you’ll end up regretting. 
The Thanksgiving feast was a celebration of the credit union spirit 
Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t just about Pilgrims.  We know a lot more about them than we do the native people with whom they shared dinner that November, but it was the feeling of community and well-being that brought everyone together.  While the history of the settlers and the natives would take a very dark turn later, for one night, it really looked like people choosing to help people was the basis on which the groups would work together forever.
This Thanksgiving, between the turkey and the football, we hope you’ll reflect on the spirit of the day. It’s a great time to think about your community and everything for which you’re thankful.  We’re thankful for all of you.  We exist to serve a community, and we’re thankful to do good work for the people we know and love.  We’re thankful that somewhere in our history, we all chose to come together and help each other, even if most of us didn’t make it to these shores for several centuries after that first Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving.
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