Holiday hosting on a budget.

The current economy is hard for everyone, fortunately you can still host an amazing holiday celebration and make your holiday meals. We've come up with the following tips so you can keep your wallet tight without having to tighten your belt.

Setting a budget is very important. Sticking to it is even more crucial! A good way to save money is to make a shopping list. This can often help you stay away from those pesky impulse buys. Coupons are also a great resource for saving money on your holiday budget. There are various places you can find really great coupons. Your local Sunday paper and various weekly editions contain coupon inserts such as the Smart Source. There are also websites that allow you to print coupons directly from your home printer such as We have also found that shopping blogs dedicated to saving money with certain stores, or in general, are our best resource. Many of these blogs will post where to find the coupons for that certain store or item you are looking for. Most of them tell you how to match up coupons, combining a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon, helping you get the most out of your savings. In-store fliers and circulars are also great ways to know the specials your local stores are running. Becoming a shopping card member, if applicable, is also a necessity for taking advantage of the best offers.

Depending on the size of your holiday get together and the budget of everyone involved, a great idea for your holiday fare would be to host a pot luck dinner; having each guest bring a dish or two. The host can assign dishes to bring, draw names and dishes out of a hat, or allow guests to decide for themselves. Pot luck dinners are great for holiday meals as they can allow a large and diverse variety of food for relatively low cost.

As with the pot luck dinner, your gift giving can be done in much the same way. Drawing names and/or participating in a secret Santa is a great way to insure that everyone present receives a gift without spending a ton of money themselves. Remember to set a monetary gift limit to insure that no one spends too much. Another original idea would be to do an ornament exchange, holiday sweet treat exchange, or a holiday hand-made exchange.

Finally, after the holiday season most stores put all of their left-over seasonal items on clearance. This is a good way to stock up on your favorite decorations or tableware for the next year. We hope this post gives you some ideas on how to save money and we hope you have a happy holiday.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by ConAgra Foods. All opinions are 100% honest and that of the author.