There is so much to love about Thanksgiving. The turkey, the stuffing, the pie, the family, the friends, the football, the big parade in New York — we are inspired by the traditions and all of the creature comforts that are associated with the fourth Thursday in November.
We want to be able to celebrate with all of the trimmings, but this year things are different. This year, many of us are scrambling to cover the cost of groceries, gas, travel, and general living expenses. There is a tightening of pocketbooks that is happening all over the globe, and we are feeling it this holiday season.Read More »
However, this doesn’t mean that we have to stand idly by and do nothing. There are always things that we can do to save money, even during the holiday season. This Thanksgiving, in order to get a handle on your spending, consider taking a break from the traditional customs and try one of these cost-saving tips.
One thing you can do to help save money at Thanksgiving is to turn the big turkey dinner into a potluck. Ask friends and family to contribute a dish or two to the meal. This will not only help to cut down on the cost of food, but it will also cut back on the stress of having to do all of the cooking yourself. Maybe offer to roast the turkey as that might need the most care and attention, and typically benefits from coming out of the host’s oven as opposed to traveling to someone else’s dinner table.
Check in with your guests and find out if there is a special dish they would like to prepare. You may find that they have a secret family recipe for sweet potatoes that will surely impress. By creating a potluck Thanksgiving, you will also give your guests the opportunity to contribute something — even if they are not particularly creative in the kitchen. It may force your guests into actively contributing a piece of the big dinner (even if it’s just the rolls), which will help them feel more like a part of the event.
Make Thanksgiving a BYOB
Another cost-saving tip for Thanksgiving is to make it a BYOB (bring your own bottle) holiday. For the very generous hosts, it is a nice gesture to provide the entire evening’s wine and spirits supply. But this can be an incredibly expensive shopping trip. These days, most guests are used to the idea of bringing something to drink like a bottle of wine.
Ask guests to bring their own wine, beer, or liquor. If you know a guest or two is bringing white wine, then go ahead and assign red wine to other guests that enjoy wine with Thanksgiving dinner. Making your Thanksgiving feast a BYOB event will absolutely help to cut down on the cost of drinks for the evening. You can also provide non-alcoholic beverages for those who do not drink or who are driving. This will help to keep everyone happy and safe during the holiday festivities.
Serve a Smaller Turkey
If you are looking to save money on the cost of food, you can always skip the 18-pound turkey and opt for something in a 12-14 pound range. The price of turkey seems to rise per pound every year, and the larger turkeys are becoming more and more expensive. If you don’t think you will need the leftovers, then a smaller bird will suffice.
A 12-14 pound turkey should be enough to feed 10-12 people with some leftovers. If you are expecting more guests, you can always cook two smaller turkeys instead of one large one. This will help to keep the cost of food down, while still providing enough turkey for everyone. Also, depending on the number of sides that are being served (and if you’re potlucking it, then there might be a generous helping of side dishes), then your guests may not serve themselves as much turkey.
Make Your Own Stuffing and Gravy
The two dishes that can really add up when it comes to cost are stuffing and gravy. These two items tend to be quite expensive, especially if you are feeding a large group of people.
One way to cut down on the cost of stuffing and gravy is to make your own. This might sound like a lot of work, but it is actually quite easy to do. And, if you make them ahead of time, then all you have to do is heat them up on Thanksgiving Day. Making your own stuffing and gravy will save you a ton of money, and it will taste just as good (if not better) than the store-bought stuff.
Shop at Discount Grocery Stores
If you are looking to save money on the cost of food, one of the best places to do your shopping is at a discount grocery store. These stores typically sell food that doesn’t come with the expensive brand label and is offered in bulk at a lower cost. The food is often discounted by a decent percentage and may also offer coupons or additional club-level savings, which can save you a lot of money on your Thanksgiving feast. Of course, you will want to make sure that the food you are buying is still safe to eat, so be sure to review sell-by dates to make sure all of the food you are buying is fresh.
Keep It To The Family
Oftentimes, we want to make sure everyone we know has a place to go for Thanksgiving. However, sometimes it’s okay to keep Thanksgiving dinner small. Consider just having the immediate family over for the feast. Depending on how many guests you have, you could potentially just roast a turkey breast instead of the entire bird. Combining those savings with savings you’ll see from cutting back on the side dishes, you’ll certainly save a lot of money by just cooking for the immediate family.
Thanksgiving week is one of the most highly traveled weeks of the year. Between the airfare and the gas mileage, an easy way to cut back on Thanksgiving expenses is to simply stay put. This year, consider hosting the feast at your house instead of traveling. Not only will you save money on the cost of airfare, rideshares or taxis (or rental cars), hotel rooms, and gas, but you’ll also save money on a lot of the residual costs like food and dining out. And, if you have out-of-town family members who are looking to cut costs themselves regarding a place to stay, let them know that they are more than welcome to come and stay with you — and then make sure they help out in the kitchen when the time comes! Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also reduce some of the stress that goes with putting together a Thanksgiving dinner.
Don’t Get Tempted By Black Friday Sales
While this tip to save money at Thanksgiving does not necessarily involve Thanksgiving, it certainly needs to be in the conversation. Black Friday and the weekend that follows are one of the biggest spending periods in the calendar year. Yes, there are a great number of sales happening during that weekend, but it doesn’t mean you need to open your wallet and dump out every last cent when you happen to see a good deal. If you are the type of person to plan ahead and make a list of the savings opportunities that may present themselves during the Black Friday weekend, then that’s great! When it comes to Black Friday, you need to have a plan because you may end up spending way more than you intended to. This year, if you are seriously interested in cutting costs at Thanksgiving, then be sure to show some restraint.
Dine In All Week
The stress of the Thanksgiving holiday can take its toll. After a long day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, it might be tempting to take the family out to a restaurant over the weekend. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can certainly put a dent in your wallet. This year, try to focus on dining in instead of dining out. There are sure to be some delicious leftovers you can whip up. You’ll save money, and you’ll also get to enjoy some quality family time at home.
There is so much to be grateful for at Thanksgiving. The family, the friends, the food, and the memories all come to mind, but this is a time that should not cause added stress or anxiety, especially when it comes to your financial well-being. Saving money at Thanksgiving and on the cost of Thanksgiving dinner is definitely well within reach of anyone that sets out to do so. By following some of the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to having a delicious and affordable feast. So, go ahead and start planning your menu, and be sure to keep these money-saving tips in mind.