Thanksgiving dinner is probably the most anticipated meal of the year. It’s known to be lavish and delicious, and the larger your family is, the bigger your meal will be. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can easily cost a great deal of money, and it can but a big strain on your budget. But it doesn’t have to. There are lots of ways you can save money this Thanksgiving. If you make an effort to save, you will. Just get creative and do some planning ahead, and you can easily slash your turkey day spending. Here are some tips to help you save money this Thanksgiving.
Get a Free Turkey
In the couple months and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, many grocery stores will give you opportunities to get a free or reduced-price turkey. Take advantage of these rewards programs. You might have to spend a certain amount of money in a certain period of time, and then you could get a free bird. Find out what the requirements are, and plan your normal grocery shopping around them. You might have to do more of your grocery shopping in one place, but it will be worth it to get the main dish for Thanksgiving at little to no cost.
Get a Big Turkey
If you won’t be getting a free turkey this year, go big. Usually, the larger your turkey is, the more you will save per pound. If the turkey is bigger than what you need for your guests, that’s okay. You can always freeze your leftovers and eat them at a later date. Or, consider getting a butcher to cut your turkey in half. They can do this for a frozen turkey, and you can keep the other half in your freeze for another meal, say Christmas or New Year’s. It may cut back on the visual appeal of the turkey by having only half a bird in the oven, but it could save you a lot in the long run.
Cook from Scratch
It is definitely easier to buy a lot of your side dishes premade, but it is much more expensive. Take the extra time in the kitchen to make your own dishes. Look up recipes for pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, for example, rather than going with store-bought. They will often taste a lot better, too, and you may find you already have a lot of the necessary ingredients on hand. For the same amount that you would spend on the dish from the store, you can make enough to feed a great many more people.
Another way to save on Thanksgiving dinner is to just make less. Think about all the leftovers you have every year. Do they go to waste? Plan out every dish you want to make and write it down, and they see what you can cut off the list. You can save money if you just reduce your meal by one or two side dishes. Most likely no one will notice, anyway, and there will be more than enough to fill them up still on the table. You should also plan dinner for an accurate number of people that will actually be attending.
The best way to save money on Thanksgiving is to start planning as far ahead as possible. If you know what you’re going to cook and the ingredients for it go on sale, stock up then. Don’t wait until the last minute when you may be forced to pay higher prices or unable to find a good sale. Also, don’t try to take on the entire burden yourself. If you’re going to have a lot of guests, ask them to each bring a different side dish or desert. This will help you save, and create a more interesting dinner selection. Happy eating!