10 Tips to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo (cc) by BrownGuacamole

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, overeat, and spend time with family – but it isn’t cheap.

After jumping 13 percent from 2010 to 2011, this year the price to provide a feast for ten will rise by only $.28 from last year to $49.48, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Luckily, there are simple ways to keep Turkey Day from taking a bite out of your family fun. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson reveals tips for hosting Thanksgiving on the cheap. Check it out, then read on for more.

Here are some more money-saving tips for Thanksgiving…

1. Make a list

It’s easy to overspend when shopping for a much anticipated holiday dinner. Make a list of what you’ll need and exactly how much, and be sure to stick to it when you’re 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. ShopRite, for example, is offering a free turkey or ham to customers who spend more than $300 between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22.

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 rib. Save money by simply choosing turkey or another type of meat for your family’s feast.

5. …and buy the right amount of it

Buy the right amount of turkey by counting 1 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 to 40 percent more than you would if you bought a fresh one. Just be sure to follow through with the necessary preparation. You’ll need three to five days to let it thaw.

7. Balance your side dishes and desserts

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 more expensive dishes that require several ingredients.

Of course, dessert is just as important as the dinner itself. Luckily, pumpkin pie and cookies are crowd pleasers, and they’re 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 the equivalent price of $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 an appetizer, while others contribute a side dish or a dessert. Of course, there’s no shame in asking Aunt Sally to bring her legendary apple strudel either.

10. Use DIY decorations

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll inevitably want to decorate. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll 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 (turn the glasses upside down), or dress up a pitcher with a simple cloth napkin. Also, go outside. There are plenty of things to do with all the red and orange leaves and acorns in your backyard.

Metallic pumpkins are another inexpensive decoration. Buy a few pumpkins at your local pumpkin patch, and spray them with metallic paint.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
17 Surprising Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher
17 Surprising Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

It’s often easier and faster to put these household items in the dishwasher than to clean them by hand.

7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales
7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales

Here’s what an experienced estate sale shopper considers a great find.

10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

The Worst Nursing Homes in America Are Revealed
The Worst Nursing Homes in America Are Revealed

The nursing homes with a history of providing subpar care previously hadn’t been identified for a government list.

7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early

The sooner you claim your Social Security retirement benefits, the more you — and perhaps also your spouse — stand to lose. Here are the stakes.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.