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TCALoans.com » Learning Center » Home Economics » 9 Tips to Keep Thanksgiving Meal from Breaking the Budget

9 Tips to Keep Thanksgiving Meal from Breaking the Budget

Thanksgiving is the holiday to get together with family and friends over the perfect meal. With food costs on the rise this year, creating that perfect meal can be costly. The Farm Bureau estimates that the average Thanksgiving dinner will cost $53.31, up 14% from last year.

Here are nine tips to keep your Thanksgiving meal from breaking the budget.

1. Prepare a list

Overspending when you’re planning a holiday meal is too easy. Prepare a list of ingredients you’ll need and precisely how much of each is required and make sure to adhere to it when you’re shopping.

2. Shop promotions and coupons

Look out for Thanksgiving promotions and coupons. Browse store adverts to get an idea of what promotions are going on before you start your shopping. You can also look for coupons to find further discounts on ingredients and supplies you need.

3. Familiarize yourself with price matching policies

Look into which stores have price matching programs and familiarize yourself with the policies. Then, do the majority of your meal shopping there.

4. Choose one meat

For some, turkey is compulsory for Thanksgiving meals. What isn’t mandatory, however, is ham, prime rib, or lamb. You can save money if you choose to make just turkey or one other kind of meat for a Thanksgiving meal.

5. Buy the right amount

The standard amount of turkey is one pound per person. So, assuming you need a few extra servings, compute a little more than 1 pound for each individual. Keep in mind; if you do a few more side dishes, you can presumably pull off less turkey.

6. Use a frozen turkey

Purchasing a frozen turkey can save you 30-40 percent more than buying a fresh turkey. However, make sure to plan for the time needed to thaw. Most turkeys require three to five days to defrost.

7. Balance desserts and side dishes

Preparing a dish of mashed potatoes is more cost-effective than cooking a multi-layer sweet potato casserole. Serve the basics (green beans, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce), and keep the more costly side dishes to a minimum.

Don’t forget dessert. Fortunately, most popular desserts, such as pies and cookies, are inexpensive to bake.

8. Be smart about refreshments

Visit discount and wholesale liquor stores, and look for deals. Also, consider boxed wine. It’s cheaper than bottled, and when served in a decanter, nobody will know the distinction.

For non-alcoholic refreshments, serve cider, teas, and coffee. These are generally less expensive than juices and canned sodas.

9. Make your meal a BYOD (Bring your own dish)

Asking that family and friends bring a dish is a fun way to shake things up. Additionally, it relieves some of the financial burdens on the host.

One approach to this is requesting visitors to bring a type of dish instead of a specific dish. For example, you can recommend that some visitors bring a dessert and others bring an appetizer.

A final word

Thanksgiving is about gratefulness and time spent with family and friends. With a few strategic changes to your Thanksgiving planning, you can have an unforgettable meal with family and friends that doesn’t break the budget.