By contributing writer Alea Milham
Thanksgiving is a such a wonderful holiday. Family and friends come together to focus on their blessings. However, if you are the one hosting the dinner, you need to be careful because the blessing of spending time with your extended family can be quite costly. Here are some ways that you can save money on Thanksgiving Dinner.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your Thanksgiving dinner is to host a Thanksgiving Potluck where everyone brings a dish. This not only saves money, but greatly reduces the work involved in hosting. We have enjoyed many Thanksgiving potluck dinners, however, there are times when a potluck just isn’t feasible, like if you are hosting all the bachelors from your husband’s squadron or your guests have traveled a great distance to visit you.
Start Planning Now
Make your menu plan now, and then check your pantry and freezer to see which ingredients you already have on hand. Make your shopping list and start picking up the items you need as you find them on sale. You limit your options when you wait until the last minute to shop.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your Thanksgiving dinner is to find the lowest prices on the items you need at your local grocery stores. I hit all of my local stores to find the rock bottom prices for each item on my list. If you don’t already have it, download the Favado App. It will allow you to easily compare prices at your local grocery stores and create a list for you to use so you can buy the ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner at the lowest prices.
Beware of the “free turkey” deal. Sometimes it truly is a good deal, but the stores usually set a pretty high dollar amount that you must spend to receive that free turkey. If you must buy $50.00 worth of groceries and you really only need about $30.00 in groceries, don’t get suckered into loading your cart with unnecessary items just to get a free turkey that is already on sale for less than a dollar a pound.
When you pair coupons with the lowest prices at your grocery stores, you can save up to 70% off your groceries. There will be both great sales and great coupons on holiday foods, so be sure to search for coupons on the items you need.
Cook from Scratch
Packaged food costs more than homemade food. While homemade dishes take a little more time, they are also much more delicious and cost less to create. I make some of my side dishes and my pies the day before Thanksgiving. Spreading the cooking out over two days allows me to save money by cooking from scratch, and it also reduces my stress level on Thanksgiving Day.
Limit Side Dishes
It is possible to celebrate Thanksgiving with only two to three side dishes. Really! The first time I had Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws, I was shocked when my mother-in-law only served twice baked potatoes, green beans with garlic, and cranberry sauce with the Turkey and Gravy. However, it was an absolutely delicious meal that I thoroughly enjoyed. At the end of the meal I didn’t feel like anything was missing. Review your menu. Do you really need to prepare all those side dishes? Is it possible to cut a couple out and still enjoy the meal?
Use Natural Decorations
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a centerpiece. Instead, pick up some small gourds from the grocery store and pair them with greens from your yard. Add candlesticks and you have an elegant but frugal Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Extend Your Savings
There will be leftovers. Make a plan to use them so they don’t go to waste. Clean all the meat off the turkey, put some in the refrigerator for immediate use and put some of the turkey in the freezer to use on a busy night when you need a fast and easy meal. You can use the bones to make turkey broth in the slow cooker and then use that broth in recipes using Thanksgiving leftovers.