Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and anyone who has hosted this feast in the past knows it can get a bit pricey. In fact, the average family spent nearly $50 to feed a table of 10 in 2019, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Fortunately, there are many methods for trimming those costs. We zero in here on a number of them, helping to squeeze savings from the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Buy generic
Sometimes, it’s just not worth paying more for the name brand. After all, table salt is table salt, no matter what fancy label appears on the packaging. Seasonings and spices, as well as baking and cooking staples, are just fine in their store-brand form, according to “32 Products You Should Always Buy Generic.”
The same holds true for frozen veggies. And if you typically serve canned cranberry sauce on Turkey Day, hide the generic can and see if any of your guests even notice that it isn’t a brand name.
2. Clip those coupons
Thanksgiving deals are out there when you know where to find them.
Check your local grocer’s website or circular for product coupons, and keep your eye on coupon sites. Honey is a browser extension that automatically applies coupons, promo codes and deals at some grocery chains.
These small price breaks can add up big-time if you’re having a large dinner party!
3. Don’t worry so much about the wine
Nobody wants to be chintzy when hosting loved ones for any meal, and that’s doubly true at Thanksgiving. But sometimes there is just no reason to spend more. Wine is one good example of when spending less can make sense.
The big bottles of wine to be found at your local warehouse store can be a big bargain at any time but especially for a party. Depending on your state’s laws, you may even be able to walk in and buy discounted alcohol at warehouse clubs without paying an annual fee.
Many people swear by Trader Joe’s inexpensive wine selection, which can include award-winning wines at surprisingly low prices.
4. Use fresh seasonal ingredients
Keep in mind when planning your Thanksgiving meal that the cheapest produce, at any time of year, is likely to be that which is in season.
At Thanksgiving, vegetables at peak freshness can include:
- Winter squash
- Dark leafy greens, like kale and Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
You’ll find local fruits and vegetables — often cheaper since the cost to transport them isn’t huge — at farmers markets, farm stands and independent grocers.
Another potential money saver: generic produce found at Trader Joe’s and big-box stores like Costco.
5. Make your own decor
Sure, you’re bound to find some beautiful Thanksgiving decor at your local retailer. But DIY decorations are much cheaper, and they offer a chance to put your own creative stamp on your celebration.
Colorful leaves, if they still are around, or pine cones and pine branches can add a festive touch to your table or mantle.
6. Go potluck
If money is tight in your household, why not ask your family and friends to help out by bringing dishes of their own?
There is no need to feel guilty about making such a request.
Consider asking loved ones to bring one item to contribute to the meal. For example, a couple of cousins can be in charge of appetizers, while your aunt and uncle can bring dessert.
7. Enjoy your leftovers
The price of a Thanksgiving meal drops considerably when you stretch it out over two or three days. Turkey and ham sandwiches are post-Thanksgiving staples, but you can also get more creative with those leftovers.
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