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10 tips to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

If you have ever hosted Thanksgiving for friends and family, then you know how easy it is for costs to spiral out of control. Turkeys, pies, casseroles and cakes can all add up to an enormous grocery bill. And if you decide to decorate, well… you see where this is going. It can get expensive. 

To help you out this Thanksgiving, here are 10 tips for saving money. 

  1. Make a list- It is easy to overspend when shopping for a much anticipated holiday dinner. make a list of what you need and exactly how much, and be sure to stick to it when you are in the store. 
  2. Don’t forget store promotions and coupons- Keep an eye out for special coupons and promotions around Thanksgiving. Some stores offer a free turkey if you spend a certain amount of money.
  3. Know price matching policies- Find out if there are any stores nearby that will match advertised prices from competitors. Do the bulk of your shopping there - just don’t forget to bring your coupons.
  4. Choose one meat- For many, turkey is obligatory on Thanksgiving. What isn’t essential, however, is ham, lamb, and prime rip. Save money by simply choosing turkey or another type of meat for your families feast. 
  5. Buy the right amount of meat- Consider one pound per person. If you want some leftovers, calculate more than 1 pound per person. Also, remember that if you load up on side dishes, you can probably get away with less turkey.
  6. Consider a frozen turkey- Buy a frozen turkey, and you could save 30-40% more than you would if you bought a fresh one. Just be sure to follow through with the necessary preparation. You will need 3-5 days to let it thaw. 
  7. Balance your side dishes and deserts- Whipping up a bowl of mashed potatoes is cheaper than cooking a seven-layer sweet potato casserole. Serve the essentials (green beans, stuffing, and cranberry sauce), and go light on the most expensive dishes that require several ingredients. Of course desert is just as important as the dinner itself. Luckily, pumpkin pie and cookies are a crowd pleaser, and they are inexpensive to bake. 
  8. Be smart about beverages- Visit a wholesale liquor store, and take advantage of sales. Don’t overlook boxed wine either - on average, one box of wine is equivalent to four bottles. Boxed wine often costs $20 or less, which is equivalent price for $5 per bottle. Serve it in a decanter, and no one will ever know the difference. For the non-alcoholic drinkers and little ones, serve coffee, tea or Kool-Aid, which are all cheaper than serving soda. 
  9. Have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish) party- Asking friends and family to bring a dish is a great way to mix things up. Plus, it relieves some of the meal’s financial burden on the host. One way to go about this is asking guests to bring a type of dish, rather than a specific one. For example, you can suggest that some guests bring appitizers, while other contribute side dishes or desserts. Of course, there is no shame in asking a guest to bring their legendary apple strudel, either. 
  10. Use DIY decorations- If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll inevitably want to decorate. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you will need to splurge on decor. Instead, make use of everyday items in your home or shop at the dollar store. Consider using drinking glasses as candle holders, or dress up a pitcher with a simple cloth napkin. Also, go outside- there are plenty of red and orange leaves and acorns in the backyard.