Stock Up Ahead of Time
Many Thanksgiving dishes are traditional staples that use items you can purchase ahead of time, such as canned cranberries, canned beans, and bread crumbs. Plan out your menu ahead of time, and make a working list of supplies. When you see non-perishable items go on sale, buy them. Don’t take your chances that they’ll be on sale again later or that you’ll find a coupon. Take advantage of sales when you see them and spread out your purchases to diminish the financial impact of a bulk shopping trip.
Make Less than You Need
Don’t count on everyone eating their share of every dish you cook. Most people will take their fill of their favorites, or they’ll just sample a bit of everything in smaller portions. Therefore, you don’t need to make a portion of each dish for every guest. You also don’t need to plan on having leftovers. While some people really enjoy leftovers in the still festive days following Thanksgiving, most will get sick of them after a day or two and you’ll still have tons of leftovers. Just make what you need and skip the leftovers.
Get a Smaller Turkey
Again, turkey dinner is a novelty, but turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and warmed up turkey for weeks is a bore. Don’t get a gigantic turkey that will feed your guests and the rest of your family for the month. Get a slightly smaller turkey than you need. Doing so will save you a lot of money since the turkey represents the most significant expense of your meal.
Save on Drinks
Unless you or your guests are real wine connoisseurs, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on upscale or vintage wines. Choose store brands or even box wines and pour them into glass carafes and decanters for a more elegant presentation. You can also mix your wines with spritzer or club soda for cocktails.
Welcome Other Dishes
When your guests offer to bring a dish, let them! Additional side dishes, desserts, and wines can make your table seem more festive without you having to spend much more money or more time in the kitchen preparing. Your guests will also feel like they’ve contributed to the festivities, inspiring a more congenial group atmosphere!
There are many, many more ways to save on your Thanksgiving feast, including clipping coupons and taking advantage of rewards programs. What other ways have you found to save on this annual, traditional meal?
Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for online nursing schools. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about nursing schools in IA. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.