Saving Money on Thanksgiving Dinner

by Emily on November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away, and while it’s a time to be thankful and celebrate all that’s in our lives, its also one of the many events during the holiday season that can be costly. Thanksgiving dinner can be especially expensive if you are hosting the meal. You can have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner without breaking the bank by following some of these tips.

Buy food in advance. The grocery stores know that the holiday is upcoming, so they mark up on items that you will need for your perfect meal. If you are planning on serving canned vegetables, using a mix for gravy or your own recipe for stuffing, tin foil, bakewear and side dishes buy non-perishables beforehand. Now you are purchasing these items on sale, instead of at full price. You should also look out for and clip coupons for these items. Coupons often have a long period where you can use them before they expire, so search and cut coupons now in your free time, so you can save money later. You will have these coupons ready to go when its time to go grocery shopping for the big day. Also check to see what your grocery stores polices are on double and triple coupons. You may surprise yourself and receive food items for free. For more couponing tips check out our article on Extreme Couponing.

This year you may even be able to get a free turkey. During the holiday season, many grocery chains run promotions that allow you to accumulate points through dollars you spend at the store. If you spend the allotted amount on your regular, weekly grocery trips you may qualify for a free turkey. Your local grocery store may also be running a special that if you purchase certain items in the store throughout a time period, you receive a free turkey. Make sure to check out the grocery stores near your home to see if they are running any special thanksgiving promotion deals.

Another way to shop for your turkey is getting it directly from a turkey farm. I have done this for the past 3 Thanksgivings, and the turkeys are incredibly fresh, and delicious. This way you are supporting your local farms, and getting a product that is fresher than from your grocery store. You also save time because you are buying a turkey that has never been frozen. Search online or in the phone book for the turkey farm nearest you, and call ahead to order your turkey. The farms are extremely knowledgeable about what size turkey to purchase for the amount of guests attending your feast. Also, they have helpful tips on how to cook your bird to perfection.
Another way to save money this Thanksgiving, is to double-check your guest list. Confirm with all of your guests that they are actually going to attend for the holiday. This way you will know how much food to make and you will not spend extra money on unnecessary food items. You will be able to buy the correct size turkey to feed all of your guests. You can even get a turkey that’s a few pounds more than you need and then use the leftovers for lunch the next week at work. You can also use your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and turn them into new dishes, such as a turkey noodle soup or lasagna. Also, if your guests offer to bring food items such as desserts, appetizers or wine and beer, take them up on it. This can help you save money and you remain a gracious host.

Last, keep it simple. You do not have to purchase expensive products in order to have a beautiful and delicious holiday meal. You can purchase simple ingredients and then find outstanding recipes that will enhance the food products you are working with. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, to save money on food costs. You can create your own piecrusts from scratch for desserts in advance and then freeze them. You can also create your own spice blends by researching recipes online. is a favorite site of mine for tips on cooking, creating your own meals from scratch and finding simple, delicious recipes. Also, decorate your table with what is already in your backyard. Use flowers from your yards, or squash, gourds, pumpkins and other fall ingredients as your tables center piece. You can use home made decorations, instead of store bought and have a festive table with more money in your pocket.

This year, savor the holiday with your loved ones and plan ahead in order to save yourself money and time. You can be the perfect host without spending a ton of money. Follow these tips to save money this Thanksgiving and implement the ones which worked for you throughout the whole holiday season.

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