WCCU Family Blog
Don’t Let Thanksgiving Gobble Up Your Savings
For many families, including mine, Thanksgiving brings both joy and stress.
Although it is nice to get together with family and friends, if you’re the host dinner can get expensive. Even if you get a great deal on the Turkey you might still end up spending a couple hundred dollars on the meal and drinks. Leaving you wonder where all that money went.
Luckily, there are ways to keep Turkey Day from gobbling up your pocket book. Here are some budget-friendly tips to help you save money this Thanksgiving.
- Get an Accurate Headcount
You don’t want to overspend on food that goes to waste. It is very easy to cook more food then you need on this day. Getting an accurate guest count will help better plan for the amount of food you need.
- Make a List and Budget
Once you have the guest list you will want to make a list of all the items you will need and the amounts of each. A rule of thumb for how much turkey to buy is approximately 1 pound per person. However, if you are having issues determining wither or not to buy another turkey, consider making slightly less turkey then you think you will need and compensate by making slightly larger amounts of the side dishes.
- Use Coupons and Shop Around
Around Thanksgiving time supermarkets will offer special discounts on some basic Thanksgiving meal items including Turkey. In order to attract customers some of these stores will feature promotions, which they will break even or even loose money on. This is when you will also see Free or Discounted Turkey deals. Some store will offer a greatly discounted or even free turkey if you spend a certain amount in that store during a certain timeframe. You want to also look for coupons so you can stack them with any in store promotions going on. Don’t forget to ask if that store matches competitor prices so you can do most of your shopping at one place.
- Consider a frozen Turkey
According to Nelson Research Company, buying a frozen turkey over a fresh one could save you 30 to 40%. However, make sure if you go this route to follow all the necessary preparation, including needing the time it needs to thaw. According to FoodSafety.gov, take approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds to thaw in the refrigerator. So that means a 20 lb turkey needs to be refrigerator for 5 to 6 day before Thanksgiving.
- Buy Generic Food Items
You can save up to 50% by buying generic food items instead of name-brand. Consider generic items for things like spices, condensed milk, canned or frozen vegetables, pumpkin or cranberry puree. Anything with simple basic-ingredients will taste the same as the more expensive name brand.
- Shop at bulk or discount stores
If you are having a lot of people over then you might get a better deal buying in bulk from places like Sam’s Club or Costco. Another place I love shopping is Aldi’s, they have a great selection of organic foods and produce at much cheaper costs then the big name supermarkets in the area. I can easily save 30-40% of my grocery bill by shopping at Aldi’s for certain items.
- Be smart when it comes to beverages
Consider visiting a wholesale liquor store and take advantage of sales. Also if you are looking to buy wine you might get a much better deal buying the entire case (12 bottles), which can save you 10-20%. And if you have left over wine, it can always be used as a great holiday gift. For kids and non-alcoholic drinkers consider serving coffee, tea and/or making a fruit punch. This is not only much cheaper but also healthier then soda.
- Opt for DIY Desserts over Store-Bought
Pre-made cakes, cookies and pies have very high markups. So you can end up saving a ton if you make your own desserts. There are some really good easy to make dessert recipes online and Pinterest that you can find. Otherwise, even buying a boxed cake or pie crust mix is more cost-effective then the bakery.
Bonus tip: Do you have leftover Halloween candy? You could try to make desserts out that including butterfinger cookie bars or peanut butter brownie trifle… yum! Here are a couple recipes from Taste Of Home
- Have a Potluck or BYOD (Bring your own dish) Party
By having friends and family bring a dish to pass around not only will help on the overall budget and cook time, but it is also a great way to mix things up a bit and it gives everyone a feeling that they have contributed to the meal. You can have guests pick out a certain type of dish to bring (dessert, appetizer, side dish).
- Dollar Store and DIY Decorations
The Dollar store has great deals on holiday décor and even some crafting and everyday items that you can make into Holiday table centerpieces or decorations. You can search online for creative Thanksgiving day centerpieces to make using dollar store items.
This is also a great why to get the kids involved, have them make the decorations. From leaf garland to turkey napkin rings, kids will have some fun making them and it also keep them busy so you can get the meal ready. Here are a couple kids craft ideas for Thanksgiving from Women’s Day