We are now truly in the lead up to the holidays and right in front of us is Thanksgiving. I love this holiday for many reasons but mostly because its about enjoying an amazing meal at home with family and does not involve presents! How many holidays are left where the pressure to go out and buy presents has not crept in?
However, even without the present giving involved, Thanksgiving Dinner can get expensive. Even if you get a good deal on a turkey (most of us do), before you know it you have spent a couple hundred dollars on the meal and you wonder how that all happened. Outlined below we have shared 5 of our tips for saving money this Thanksgiving, without any sacrifice on quality. And no, we are not going to suggest you hunt your own turkey or make butter like the pilgrims! Here’s our very doable list:
1. Do Your List Now!
Why? Because most of the major grocery stores are having significant pre holiday specials on many of the items on your list! If you do not do your list until the weekend before Thanksgiving, you are not going to be in a position to take advantage of the many great specials in the stores. All the stores will be having deals well before the holiday and by starting early, you can pick up the best deals at the best price (not necessarily all in one day or at one store) because you know your menu and what is on your list today. Not only is it stressful to be shopping for your Thanksgiving dinner a few days before the holiday, you are going to be buying whatever is on your list at whatever price. The luxury of time is gone and overspending is most likely in the cards. Planning in advance is a key budget and sanity saver. So go get that list done today!
2. Its Not All about the Turkey!
All the stores will have deals on turkeys over the next few weeks and with many of the specials resulting in turkeys for less than $1 per lb, the reality is the turkey is not going to be the most expensive part of your meal. Its all the other things: the apps, the sides, the desserts, the paper goods, the wine. The expense for the meal really comes from all these items on your list, from the cranberries to the paper napkins. If you are looking to save money on your meal, this is the area to focus on. How to do this? Read on to tip #3!
3. Keep it simple
Thanksgiving is about family, traditions, and of course the meal. But the meal does not have to be complicated or involved to be delicious. We are all tempted by the articles with the “worlds best stuffing” or the “most amazing butternut squash recipe ever” but the reality is going fancy and complicated often means going expensive and time consuming. I also find these articles oh so tempting but when you are hosting a meal for a large crowd, especially one with multiple sides, this is not the time to load up your menu with lots of new recipes and ingredients, especially if you are trying to keep your grocery bill in check. Stay with the tried and true recipes, which most likely use less ingredients than the gourmet version, and chances are you have the spices and staples already in your pantry.
If you really feel like you just have to try that recipe, save it for a smaller gathering over the holidays so you do not have to buy such large quantities of a more involved recipe.
4. Take Advantage of Bulk Discounts on Wine:
Many of us will be buying wine for not only Thanksgiving but also for other holiday parties and as gifts. Start the holiday season by stocking up and taking advantage of bulk discounts. Many liquor stores will give you a good discount ranging from 10% to 25% depending on how much you buy. If its not posted at the store, ask the manager if they will give you a discount. If they say no, go elsewhere as its not that hard to find. If you think ahead to the parties you will be hosting or attending this holiday season, its very easy to have it all add up to a case or more. So although you will have to spend the money upfront, the discounts are often too good to pass up. Its also a great time saver for those nights when you are running out to a party and you can just grab a bottle from your supply at home (that you bought at a discount!) rather than stopping last minute at the liquor store en route to a party.
5. Use Coupons When it Makes Sense
We are not big fans of the extreme couponing craze as it often involves overspending on items you really do not need. But you can save money with coupons, if you limit them to item you actually need to buy. The holiday season is a great time to take advantage of some good coupons in circulation. How to do it quickly? Start with your shopping list and look at items that could have a coupon, such as your dairy, grocery, and frozen food items. Go to the sites and FB pages of your favorite brands and see if they have any offers. Typically its right on the home page or look on the Promotions or Offers page. Many of these coupons are not always made available on the large coupon sites so if you do not go to sites themselves or like them on FB, you will never find them. Yes, this does take some extra time, but if you have started early (per Tip#1 above) then you should have the extra 15 to 20 minutes it would take to do a few quick searches before heading to the store. This is the process we follow each week for our members and we always find coupons on the sites themselves, and these are often the ones with the higher values.
We hope you can use these tips to save on your holiday meal this year. However, we REALLY hope you all have wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations with your families and friends!
And if you are looking for a ready to go Thanksgiving Menu, Shopping list, and even some links to on line coupons, check back here soon as we will have a ready to go plan for you!