Looking for some money saving tips to save on Thanksgiving this year? If you are hosting or have hosted in the past, you know the costs of putting on a Thanksgiving meal can add up really fast. With food prices as high as they are, preparing a feast for a large group can be a budgetary challenge. However, there are many steps you can start to take now that will help lower your costs without sacrificing quality.
All these money saving tips are easy to do, and you can start using them now. They will also help you save time and reduce stress so you can be fully present and enjoy the day with your loved ones. Because after all, the day is about much more than the food! ❤️
Let’s dive in.
6 Thanksgiving Money Saving Tips:
1. Plan Everything Out Before Going to the Store and Ask for Help:📝
- Going into a grocery store without a list will almost always result in spending more than needed. When shopping for a major holiday, having an organized list is even more critical, especially if you are trying to keep costs under control.
- Think through all the elements of the meal such as the apps, main meal, desserts, drinks, supplies you might need, paper goods, pantry items, etc. Get it all onto a single list.
- Determine what items on the list you are buying/responsible for and what items you can ask your guests to bring, whether that is a few of the sides or contributing other things such as wine, non-alcoholic drinks, desserts, rolls, or even festive paper goods. All these small things add up in both cost and time and most people like to help and contribute. Giving your guests plenty of notice in advance makes it easy for them to do so.
- Consider highlighting/color coding the items you are not buying to make shopping easier and faster in the store. You could create two lists (“what I am doing/what others are bringing”) but I have found having one master list makes things much more organized and easier to manage.
Having one complete list of everything you need also means you won’t need to return to the store multiple times leading up to Thanksgiving. And we all know what usually happens when we run into the store just to buy whipped cream….we end up adding a bit of this or that, another few cheeses for the cheese tray (that we don’t need), or those cute little chocolate turkeys that were up by the register 🛒💳 (and yes, I know, those chocolate turkeys are so cute!)
2. Shop Early and Watch the Weekly Specials at Your Store 🛒💰
- One of the best money saving tips for Thanksgiving is to start early.
- For the next week or two leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure to check out your local store flyers. These flyers often feature fantastic deals on essential Thanksgiving items like frozen turkeys, spices, baking supplies, pumpkin puree, squash, cranberries, and beverages for your bar. These specials are going on now, and will help you spread out the cost of the day over a few weeks.
- Watch for limited-time promotions, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and discounts on bulk purchases. Capitalizing on these store specials will maximize your savings.
Shopping the specials does take an extra step, but it can result in savings in the range of 20 to 25% on many of the items on your list.
3. Buy the Turkey at Your Grocery Store (vs. a specialty store):🦃
- Instead of buying your turkey at a specialty store or doing a special order, why not check out your local grocery store? If you need to buy a 20 lb turkey for a crowd, the price can be a considerable part of your meal. As noted in tip #2, a great place to start is your store’s flyer to see their deals. We also suggest comparing prices amongst a few local stores to ensure you get the best price.
- There have also been extensive taste tests by consumer groups comparing the pricier brands to the in-store ones, and guess what? The difference in taste was usually not significant, yet the price was. Some of our best Thanksgiving turkeys have been from our local grocery store vs. the years we ordered from an expensive specialty store.
So take advantage of the specials at the major retailers this year- it’s an easy way to save on Thanksgiving. Besides, with all the beautiful sides at the table, the meal is about the whole experience, not just the turkey.
4. Limit the Number of Sides:🍽️🤝
- Do you really need 6 to 8 sides? Some of us feel compelled to make a long list of side dishes for the table. One year, I did nine and it was crazy and exhausting …don’t ever do that! It’s oh so easy to get carried away. Although trying new recipes around the holidays is something I truly love to do, I have learned doing a new recipe for the first time on Thanksgiving is not always the best idea.
- Focus instead on the recipes you know your family loves…the tried and true. Save the new recipes for a smaller crowd or special holiday meal.
- Or, if you must, limit yourself to only one new recipe, and keep the rest of the meal to the sides you have been doing forever. Although the lure of the “world’s best stuffing” or “5 sides not to miss” is too much to resist, it really is best to keep it simple.
And back to the saving money side of things, scaling back on the number of different sides on the table naturally lowers your food bill. It also sets you up for a more relaxing day, where you can actively participate in the conversations instead of being glued to your stovetop.
5. Make your Own:🧂💧🌿🥧🍰
While we wholeheartedly endorse time-saving and stress reduction during the holiday season, some items are best made at home rather than purchased ready-made in the store. Here are our top tips for saving on Thanksgiving by preparing them yourself:
- Brining Solution: this is literally salt, water, and some spices. Don’t be tempted to buy the nicely packaged brining solution in the stores at an incredible markup…you can make your own for pennies! If you google homemade brines, you will have a huge list to choose from.
- Gravy: after you buy the turkey from the store, you have everything you need for a great gravy, with just some flour, cornstarch, and water. Not only is it cheaper, but it tastes so much better. Can’t bear the thought of dealing with gravy during those frenzied moments before you sit down for the meal? You can also make it in advance with stock bought 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 getting everything on the table.
- Desserts: making pies and other baked goods at home is a great tradition to do with the kids and a big money saver. If you are pressed for time or desserts are not your thing, delegate the desserts to your guests.
6. Buy Wine in Bulk 🍷🎉
- If you plan to enjoy wine on Thanksgiving, consider purchasing it in bulk from your local wine shop. Many stores offer discounts of 20 to 25% when you buy a case or more. This not only saves money but also ensures you have wine on hand for holiday gatherings and gifts. Stock up on wine gift bags for added convenience.
- When you consider the holiday season is upon us, you most likely will take a bottle to parties or give one as a hostess gift. It just makes it so much easier to have it on hand. It will cost more upfront, but you will spend far less over the holiday season. You also will have the added bonus of saving time from running out last minute before a party or needing to fit in a stop on the way. While you are at it, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on wine gift bags, too so you always have an easy gift ready to go.
So there you have it – six easy and doable tips to make your Thanksgiving memorable without breaking your food budget. Remember, it’s all about creating memories with your family and friends, not just about the food on your table.
We’d love to hear from you too! Got any other Thanksgiving saving tips? Drop them in the comments below!