Thanksgiving is the time of year when families, or friends, get together to enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal with seasonal specials like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This should be a time of celebration, not stressing over the grocery bill. If you’re hosting this year, you’ve got a hefty responsibility in organizing the gathering, cooking the meal, and buying the ingredients you’ll need to make it all happen. But with some forethought and planning, you can have a wonderful feast without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how to save money this Thanksgiving.
Use Homegrown Ingredients
If you like to garden, you might have spent the summer enjoying all the fresh produce at hand. Why not set some choice ingredients aside that’ll serve to make your Thanksgiving dinner more memorable and affordable? Certain items like potatoes can last for months if stored correctly and will be perfect for making your favorite mashed potato or roasted potato recipes. Brussels sprouts are another crop that lasts well after its harvested, but if you haven’t grown it this year, think about swapping out this traditional menu item with something you have on hand, like broccoli or kale.
Set the Menu
Preplanning your Thanksgiving dinner menu lets you get organized and know precisely what you’ll need so you don’t purchase anything that won’t get used. You can check your pantry to see what you already have on hand and plan accordingly.
Why buy a can of pumpkin puree when you’ve got those sweet potatoes sitting in your cellar, and everyone knows sweet potato pie is better anyway? Have you got walnuts instead of pecans? Try your granny’s walnut brownie recipe instead of the pecan pie you always make. Once you’ve taken stock of what you have, write the menu to suit you.
Make a List
Have you gotten your menu all set? Then it’s time to write down the ingredients you’ll need for everything and list what you have on hand and what you still need to get. Having a physical list lets you check off things as you buy them so you don’t accidentally over-purchase or forget something and have to rush out at the last minute when stocks might be low and end up getting the most expensive brand because that’s all you could find. Remember to share your list with your partner or anyone shopping with you.
Shopping early lets you spread out the cost of the menu ingredients so you’re not making a big purchase all at once, which might be easier on your budgeting. If you find a reasonable price on an item when you do your weekly shopping, you can grab it for later, knowing it’s on your list and will come in handy.
If you find a good deal on day-old bread, it can be cut into cubes be frozen to last until you need it for your stuffing. Cranberries can also be frozen, so you don’t have to buy them last minute.
Check for Deals and Compare Prices
As soon as supermarkets start bringing out their Thanksgiving items, you can check around, compare prices at your favorite stores, and see where to get the best value items. Look for deals that will help stretch your budget. Two-for-one on pie crusts? Apple pie and pecan pie are two pies that will need two crusts. Half-off on butter? Maybe it’s time to make those crusts yourself. Some supermarkets offer specials where you can get a free turkey with certain purchase requirements. Check around to see where you can get this dinner centerpiece for less.
Buy Canned and Frozen
Often canned or frozen ingredients are cheaper than buying fresh, and you don’t have to worry about them going off before the big day arrives, leading to spending extra on buying them all over again. You can stock up ahead of time, even taking advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales for next year’s feast. Be sure to check the expiration date, so you’ll know it will last. Check for generic or store brands that usually have better prices than name brands on items like canned vegetables and are likely just as good.
Ask Guests To Bring a Dish
Whether it’s a side or dessert, asking your guests to bring a dish can help you save some money. This lets any of your guests who love to cook be a part of creating the meal, which is rewarding for everyone. Ask Uncle Jim to bring his prized casserole or Aunt Martha to share some of her homemade biscuits that everyone loves. If cousin Bill is an amateur sommelier, he’d probably like to be in charge of the wine. All these components can make a great dinner as unique and charming as the family it brings together.
You can find inexpensive ways to decorate by adding extra little touches that make the setting more seasonal. Place colorful autumn leaves artfully around the dining room, or pick some beautiful dried grasses for a table piece. Look for inexpensive craft supplies at thrift stores that can be turned into elegant seasonal decorations with a little bit of creativity. Check websites for fun ideas that can be made with things you already have around the house. Little things like elegantly tied ribbons in seasonal colors on the stem of the wine glasses can elevate your dinner setting.
Shopping for Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a chore that depletes your bank account just before you need to start shopping for the winter holidays. With some planning and patience, you can find the best deals to make this a great Thanksgiving that doesn’t scrimp on portions. We at Huffines Hyundai Mckinney wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving and hope you’ve found something helpful on our list. Do you have any great Thanksgiving budget tips you’d like to share? Drop us a line and tell us more great ways to save during this Thanksgiving holiday.