Thinking Thrifty for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner – can you believe it? In anticipation of this typically feast filled holiday, we are bringing you Thanksgiving dinner ideas that are easy on your wallet. With a little planning and smart shopping, you can have a picture perfect meal everyone will gobble up at a price that won’t play foul with your finances. Below are a few ways you can host a yummy Thanksgiving dinner without breaking the bank.

Stick to the Classics

If you’re in charge of preparing the meal, try to stick to the classics. Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are examples of typical Thanksgiving staples. You may want to experiment and try an herb-infused, pomegranate injected turkey recipe. The problem is, if it falls flat, you’ll be spending another $20 to get Chinese take-out. To avoid any extra costs on ingredients or an alternate meal, try not to stray too far away from the basics or use a recipe that you are unfamiliar with.

Speedy Cash Tip:

As a rule of thumb, choose recipes with the least amount of ingredients and steps to save you money and time!

Keep It Homemade

Pre-packaged food bought from a restaurant or deli is nearly twice the cost of making that same food from scratch. A bakery-bought pie can cost nearly $40, but a homemade version can usually be made for around $12! Plus, your guests will love the personal touch of a homemade Thanksgiving dinner. If you can, plan your menu around what you can make from scratch—or at least semi-make. Some options, like mashed potatoes, can be substituted for boxed or instant potatoes. Or if you’re making a pumpkin pie, use canned pumpkin puree for ease of making the pie!

Potluck It Up

Depending on the amount of people you will be feeding, consider asking your guests to BYOS (Bring Your Own Side)! Potlucks allow for everyone to bring their favorite dish and it relieves some stress from the host! Potlucks are also a great way to share recipes and get dinner conversations started. Just be sure to let your guests know ahead of time so they can prepare to contribute. This also means that you should plan ahead of time, too. Don’t let the stress get to you the day before the holiday when no one has the resources to pitch in. There is no need to feel embarrassed to ask guests if they could provide something for the meal. Many guests will love the opportunity to help out and share their favorite Thanksgiving dish.

Shop Smart

We all know that the “early bird gets the worm,” but waiting could help you save money in the checkout line. Couponing and watching sales are the best ways to save at the grocery store, but did you know that typically the week before Thanksgiving, the ‘staples’ go on their lowest sale price? Things like canned cranberry sauce and pumpkin puree are usually the cheapest right before the holiday. Combine this with any manufacturer’s coupons or store rewards programs, and you’re on your way to one cheap and delicious meal!

Bulk Up

Buying items in bulk is an easy way to save money while also stocking up on what you need. Don’t think you can use all of it, you say? Let’s get friendly. For example, buying a bag of potatoes is the cheapest option per pound, but you may not need that many. Try finding a savvy shopping partner and split the bag! You will most likely reduce cost had you bought them on your own and may be able to get more than you thought you would get originally – that means third helpings or leftovers all around! Same principle applies to buying butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. Shop big box stores for some of the best bulk buying deals.

Check the Freezer Aisle

Just like with bulk buying, shopping for frozen foods could cut costs. Rather than buying fresh items, frozen items are usually cheaper and last much longer. As an added bonus, due to their long shelf life, you could get your shopping done ahead of time when you shop frozen foods. If you see a specific item you’re wanting to have for Thanksgiving dinner like corn or green beans on sale in the freezer section, grab them while you can. You can also cut cost on your main dish when shopping in the frozen section. Tukey is the majority of the cost of a Thanksgiving meal, but you can save if you choose a frozen vs. a fresh turkey. Keep in mind that a frozen turkey does require some planning ahead aka thaw time. A good rule of thumb is 24 hours of thawing in the refrigerator per 5 lbs of turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Speedy Cash!