7 Ways to Squeeze Savings From Your Thanksgiving Celebration

Frugal doesn't have to mean "cheap." Here are seven ways to entertain loved ones in style, while keeping your wallet intact.

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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 last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Fortunately, there are many methods for trimming those costs. We have zeroed in on seven ways to squeeze savings from your Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Buy generic

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Sometimes, it’s just not worth paying more for the name brand. After all, table salt is table salt, no matter what type of fancy label appears on the packaging. Kendal Perez of CouponSherpa writes that cooking staples such as sugar, spices and flour are just fine in their store-brand form:

“With flour or any of those dry things, I don’t need to have Morton’s or Gold Meadow. … I usually go with the store brands.”

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. Use fresh seasonal ingredients

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At any time of year, the cheapest foods are those that are in season. Keep that in mind when planning your Thanksgiving meal. Dawn Perry, food director of Real Simple magazine, tells CNBC:

Lots of us have that classic green bean casserole on the table, but green beans are actually at their peak in high summer, so what we want to do is focus on ingredients that are at their peak right now.

Perry says such ingredients include:

  • Winter squash
  • Dark leafy greens, like kale and Swiss chard
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes

3. Clip those coupons

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Thanksgiving deals are out there if you know where to find them. Check out your local grocer’s website or circular for product coupons, and visit sites such as Coupons.com.

Those small price breaks can add up big-time if you’re having a large dinner party!

4. Make your own decor

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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.

Pine cones and pine branches can add a festive touch to your table or mantle. Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar writes:

Go outside and look for some nice, clean, colorful leaves. All you need is a plain tablecloth and a row of colorful leaves sprinkled down the middle to create a very festive setting.

5. Don’t worry so much about the wine

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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.

Food & Wine reported that a $6.29 bottle of vino from a Walmart subsidiary won the Platinum Best in Show honor at the Decanter World Wine Awards. That’s proof positive that less costly wine can rival its high-brow counterparts in flavor.

Many people swear by Trader Joe’s inexpensive wine selection. Elizabeth Buxton at Refinery29 recently ran down her top 10 choices at the retailer.

6. Go potluck

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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. As Heather Levin at Money Crashers points out:

In my opinion, asking one person or family to host a meal for a large group of people is unfair. They’re shouldering the burden of shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating. This is not only a lot of work, but it can also place a large financial burden on the other person.

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

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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. You can find Thanksgiving leftovers recipes from the following:

Do you have more ideas for saving on Thanksgiving? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

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