Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and eat delicious food. After all, on this holiday, food is front and center. Yet, preparing for a Thanksgiving dinner can create quite a strain on the wallet. The average family spent approximately $50.11 on Thanksgiving dinner in 2015 (WGN). That’s quite a bit of money to spend on one meal.
However, there are ways to trim corners without sacrificing quality.
Have a potluck
If you’re inviting family and friends, consider having a potluck meal. Ask your guests to bring a dessert, side dish, or drinks. You’ll have a lavish spread with a lot of variety, but you won’t be the only one paying for all of the food.
Don’t make an abundance of food
At most Thanksgiving meals, the table overflows with food. Leftovers are abundant. Yet, many people don’t like leftovers, or, even if they do, they struggle to finish all of the Thanksgiving leftovers before they go bad. Save money by cutting back on the quantity of food that you make. You’ll want to have enough to feed your family but not enough that you have leftovers for days. . .and days. . .and days.
Limit your selection of foods
Every family has at least one Thanksgiving dish that no one really likes. In our family, it’s corn casserole. Instead of making many different side dishes, decide on just a few that are well loved.
Buy foods on sale
Beginning about three to four weeks before Thanksgiving, start shopping the ads. Buy the non-perishables that you’ll need as they go on sale. Each week, allot a certain amount of your grocery budget for Thanksgiving food purchases. If you decide to spend $10 to $15 per week on Thanksgiving meal foods for the three weeks before Thanksgiving, you won’t feel as much pain at the check out compared to doing all of your Thanksgiving shopping in one week.
Shop around for the turkey
Shop around for the best deal on turkey. Many grocery stores offer steep discounts on turkeys if you spend a certain amount on your other groceries, say $25 or $30. Do your regular grocery shopping when you buy a turkey so it’s not hard to find foods to buy for the amount you’re required to spend to get the deal price.
Use a warehouse store
If you don’t have time to shop around, consider buying many of your Thanksgiving meal foods at a warehouse store. This is especially useful if you’re cooking for a crowd and will need a lot of Thanksgiving foods anyway.
Buy some food for next year
If you have money in your budget, consider buying food for NEXT Thanksgiving after this Thanksgiving is over. You may find turkeys and other non-perishables like cranberries, stuffing mix, and other Thanksgiving food items on steep discount. If you put the turkey in the deep freezer, it will be fine to use for next year. If the non-perishables have a long shelf life, you can keep those in your pantry until next Thanksgiving.
Following these tips, Thanksgiving can be an enjoyable holiday that doesn’t break the bank.
How do you save on your Thanksgiving meal?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.