Quick Guide to a Successful Thanksgiving on a Budget
Coming slowly out of the pandemic has got most people planning a big Thanksgiving get together. Consider a few things to make it both wonderful and cost-effective. And, no, these are not conflicting goals. A budget Thanksgiving is doable and can still be great!
Get Yourself a Free Turkey
In the past, many places gave away free turkeys for Thanksgiving. There will be far fewer doing it this year but check your church, grocery store, or charity. You may be pleasantly surprised.
If not, at least check your local grocery store for any discounts available for your turkey of choice. Or consider the next option.
Frozen Foods, Really?
Frozen foods (like a frozen turkey) are often very tasty and much cheaper than fresh. You can also buy it when it is on sale and store it well in advance of the holiday for less stress. Just be sure to let them fully defrost before cooking them. With a little creativity, you can make them flavorful by adding herbs, spices, and other seasonings. No one will know you did it either!
Why Not an Alternative Dinner?
Many great restaurants will be open for the holidays. And they will have family specials and specially priced all-in-one meals. Some stores, like Costco, offer ready to heat and serve Thanksgiving Day meals, and the prices can be quite good.
If those ideas are not appealing, ask your guests about doing a potluck this year. With everyone bringing all the sides, salads, and desserts, you can focus on the turkey or your main dish of choice…and spend a lot less time and money!
Don’t Overdo It, Stick to Your Budget
This is always the hard part. Set up a budget and stick to it! Your turkey is almost half the cost of the meal, so focus on getting the best deal you can on it. An even bigger saving; do not serve alcohol. Let everyone bring their drink of choice. You can provide water, sodas (the big bottles), or another low-cost option but do not buy alcohol for the group.
Shop with Coupons
Coupons have been around a long time, but they still work. It is a bit tedious to sort through flyers and clip them out. And it is best to organize them so you get the full value available. Your mailbox and the local newspaper are the biggest sources for coupons. You can save $10, $20, or more just with coupons so if your budget is tight. It is a very good strategy.
Buy Bulk Items
I am not a huge fan of bulk, but for major holidays it can be a big savings opportunity. This is especially true if you already belong to Sam’s Club or Costco, where bulk is pretty standard. Check out deals at either store, as there will still be some sales on these items. Staples like butter, eggs, sugar, flour, etc., are cheaper in bulk. And they often have great deals on pumpkin pies and other desserts too.
Consider Generic Brands
When shopping, most people ignore generic brands thinking they are of poor quality. Check the labels! Most generic brands are made by the same name brands you are already buying. The price is less, but the quality is the same. This is true of stock items in particular.
Hopefully, this money-saving advice will help you this year and onwards.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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