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TCALoans.com » Learning Center » Home Economics » 12 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal

12 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal

For many people, the Thanksgiving meal makes a significant dent in their monthly budget. The cost of the turkey, sides, casseroles, pies, as well as decorations can quickly spiral out of control.

Thanksgiving is a period for reflection and appreciating friends and family. This year it is also an opportunity to consider how your Thanksgiving traditions will adapt in the time of Coronavirus. While it won’t be a typical Thanksgiving, this doesn’t mean it can’t be an excellent meal. Here are our tips to make it a memorable and affordable holiday this year.

Plan ahead

Your list of those attending might be modest this year and could change if, say, state, a potential guest needs to isolate. It’s a smart idea to get an idea of the headcount before you the grocery shopping. Doing this will keep you from over purchasing and ending up with leftovers you’re unable to eat.

Once you know how many you’re feeding, prepare your list. While preparing your list, it’s a good idea to look at your local grocery store’s deals. Consider deals when you’re planning your Thanksgiving meal but don’t purchase something unneeded just because it’s a good deal.

Purchase in season

As dazzling as it might be to have a large cornucopia of each sort of vegetable you can envision as your Thanksgiving centerpiece, it’s a more budget-friendly idea to adhere to what’s in season. Think sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and pumpkin instead of produce not in season, and other than a turkey, they’re probably as traditional Thanksgiving as you can get.

Think inside the can

Fresh can be substantially more costly than canned. Be open to using canned when you can. When it comes to something like pumpkin pie, who can tell whether the filling came from a can or a fresh pumpkin? You might even try cranberry sauce from a can. We won’t say anything. Make a point to crush it up so it isn’t can-shaped before carrying it to the table.

Don’t fear frozen

What we said about canned applies here, yet for frozen fruits and vegetables. Trust us: No one will care whether the green beans you put in that green bean casserole were bought from the frozen section of the supermarket. Because most frozen fruits and vegetables are flash-frozen after being picked, they’re more inexpensive and longer-lasting than if you’d frozen your own.

Budget-friendly recipes

You likely have an entire assortment of classic Thanksgiving recipes, but it doesn’t hurt to look at some more. Do a quick search for a budget-friendly version of anything, and you’ll find a myriad of new recipes.

More is sometimes too much

There’s an inclination to go over the edge on the food with regards to your Thanksgiving menu. Making such a large number of various dishes won’t just cut into the spending plan; it might reduce the enjoyment of the other dishes. Keep your Thanksgiving menu straightforward. Many times, the simplest dishes are the most delicious.

Take stock of what you have

Consider what you already have. Cans of cream of mushroom in your pantry? Frozen vegetables in your freezer? Before you begin shopping, see what you can make with what you’ve just got lying around. Except if you have an extra turkey in your yard, you’ll presumably still need to do some shopping, yet you should try to cut costs where you can.

Minimize beverage options

It may dazzle your family to have a wholly supplied bar so they can DIY any mixed drink they want; however, extra alternatives welcome additional expenses. In case you’re serving the hard stuff, don’t be hesitant to go for the cheaper option and get a few bottles of soft drinks or juice to mix with it.

Do a little math

Do you need or need an entire turkey? Perhaps a roasted turkey breast or some turkey thighs might be a better option for your Thanksgiving dinner. Another benefit of sticking to a turkey breast or thighs is that they require less time to cook. Also, turkey thighs tend to be moister.

Or, on the other hand, possibly, quite possibly, you needn’t bother with a turkey. We know, we know, that is verging on sacrilege, but maybe those you’re feeding are less into turkey. Perhaps they prefer chicken, and it very well may be the less expensive choice.

Switch up your ingredients

We already mentioned searching for budget-friendly recipes, but you can transform your own recipes into cheaper versions. It may take some experimentation, but most recipes have ingredients that can be substituted for a less expensive ingredient.

Minimize meat

Unless everyone is vegetarian or vegan, you can’t get away with skipping the meat entirely. What you can do is keep the meat to a minimum by adding other, cheaper dishes. Dishes like sweet potato casserole can be just as filling and delicious as meat entrees and are usually easier on the wallet.

Remember that Thanksgiving is really about friends and family

Regardless of what you serve this Thanksgiving, remember that the holiday is about being thankful with friends and family. This year that may mean having separate dinners together over Zoom. However, you’ll still be sharing this special occasion with your friends and family, and that is invaluable.

With these tips, we trust you’ll transform your Thanksgiving into a holiday to remember. While it might be an unusual one this year, we at TCA Loans wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!