Thanksgiving is next week and with it comes the start of the “official” holiday season. It’s such a fun and festive time of year…and also a time of year when it is easy to overspend. If you are hosting Thanksgiving next week, we have put together a quick list of 5 easy ways your can lower the expense of the holiday, without sacrificing taste or time with your family.
5 Real Ways to Save on Thanksgiving:
1. Buy your Turkey at the Grocery Store:
This time of year, you are going to see some of the best prices of the year on turkeys, from as low as $.49 lb! If you need to buy a 20 lb turkey for your crowd, the total cost will be less than $20. Compare this to the premium brand or special order turkeys, some priced at many dollars more per per pound, you are looking at a HUGE savings. You might be thinking “but its the showpiece of the table and it needs to be the best possible money can buy” or “I have to get the BEST turkey ever”.
To put your mind at ease, there have been some extensive taste tests comparing the pricey brands to the in store national brands and guess what? The difference in taste was not always considered that notable, yet the price certainly was. Besides, with all the other ‘fixins at the table, the meal is about the whole experience, not just the turkey.
2. Make your List Now & Shop Early:
Don’t wait until early next week to do your shopping. Most of the stores are full of specials right now related to Thanksgiving (spices, baking supplies, pumpkin puree, cranberries, beverages for the bar). Get your shopping list done early and then on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, when you are in the grocery stores doing your normal shopping, you can take advantage of the specials in advance. You will not only save money, but also save yourself time and the stress that comes from buying all the food in one trip.
3. Keep it Simple:
Do you really need to do 8 sides? Some of us feel compelled to do a long list of side dishes every year, Its easy to get carried away and want to try new recipes to make your meal extra memorable, but focus instead on the recipes you know your family and guests love…the tried and true. Scale back on the number of different items on the table and you not only lower your food bill, but also have more time to enjoy the day. It is the day that you will remember the most, not the food.
4.Make your Own
Although we are all for saving time and reducing stress around the holidays, there are some items that just make no sense to buy ready made in the store. Our top picks for making it at home:
- Desserts: making pies and other baked goods at home is not only a great tradition, they often taste better. Buying ready made desserts come at a huge markup and you can do most of them a few days in advance.
- Brining Solution (this is literally salt, water, some spices) Don’t be tempted to buy the nicely packaged brining solution in the stores, at an incredible mark up…you can make your own for pennies! If you just google homemade brines, you will have a huge list to choose from.
- Gravy -after you buy the turkey from the store, you essentially have everything you need for a great gravy, with just some flour or corn starch and water. Not only is it cheaper, but it is so much better! Can’t bear the thought of dealing with gravy during those frenzied moments before you sit down for the feast, make it in advance with some stock bought right from the store. Or, you could do what I do and enlist the help of a family member to be your “Gravy Master” leaving you to focus on other things.
5. Buy Wine in Bulk
Many of us enjoy having a glass of wine (or two!) on Thanksgiving. Before picking up a few bottles individually, ask you local wine shop if they discount for buying a case or more. We always buy our wine this way and if we buy more than one case at once, we receive a 25% discount off the total. Think ahead to the holiday season and no doubt you will be bringing wine to parties or giving a bottle or two as hostess gifts. You may end up buying the same amount by January 1st anyway, so why not take the discount and it has the added bonus of saving you time from running out last minute. While you are at it, its not a bad idea to stock up on wine gift bags too so you always have an easy gift ready to go!
WISHING YOU ALL A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!
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