6 Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Costs

Thanksgiving means being grateful for all the good things in our lives. It is a time-honored tradition of spending time enjoying a delicious holiday meal in the company of loved ones.

Between the turkey and all of the trimmings, as well as the decorations, hosting Thanksgiving can be expensive. We have compiled a list of our recommendations to help you save on your Thanksgiving costs this year, without compromising the quality and festivity of your meal.

1) Verify your guests’ attendance.

Before you start writing up a menu or a shopping list, check to make sure you have an accurate headcount of the guests who will be joining you for Thanksgiving. The headcount will help you determine your menu, from the size of the turkey to the number of side dishes. You can use an online portions planner to help you figure out how much of each dish to have. With a little planning, you can prevent yourself from overbuying and avoid having to stack your fridge to the brim with leftovers.

2) Take stock of what you already have.

Before you head out to the grocery store, check to see if you already have any of the ingredients, food, and other items on your shopping list. Scope out your pantry, your cabinets, your basement, or wherever else you store food, decorations, and dinnerware. Every item on your list that you find in your home is one less item that you will have to buy.

3) Make it a potluck.

Share the expense of the holiday by answering an enthusiastic “yes!” to every guest who asks if they can bring something. Going the potluck route is a neat way to add a variety of dishes to your table. To make sure all the essentials are covered, keep track of what they offer to bring or request specific items you still need.

4) DIY décor.

With a little imagination, you can set a beautiful holiday table while staying on budget. Shop the local dollar store for discounted décor that still looks great, like colored vases, artificial flower arrangements, and other centerpieces. Look for easy, inexpensive DYI (do-it-yourself) ideas online. Finally, get creative by using things from around the house — or yard — as your décor. For instance, you can design an autumn-themed centerpiece with leaves and pinecones from your own yard!

5) Shop the sales.

Grocery stores and shopping centers tend to run specials on turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples starting as early as Halloween. Plan your menu several weeks in advance, so you can take advantage of these sales. Keep it flexible until you see the circulars, and then base your dishes on the produce and ingredients that are on sale. Also, be sure to shop around for your turkey! Supermarkets tend to have the best deals on them, with some even offering free turkey deals when you spend a specific amount on other groceries.

6) Cook from scratch.

Most everything is less expensive — and tastes better — when it is homemade. Think gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and apple pie. Start your cooking well enough in advance, so you don’t find yourself relying on too many store-bought prepared foods that tend to be more expensive and may not be as good as yours.

When you gather around the table with family and friends this Thanksgiving, you can be especially thankful you were able to save in the preparation. All it takes is a little planning!