Thanksgiving is this week to officially kick-off the holiday season. This means time with family, overeating, and, if you’re similar to my family, watching movie marathons like The Wizard of Oz together. While you’ve been waiting for this day for quite some time, you may not have everything you need yet. But, don’t worry; there are quite a few last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner.
If you feel behind on your Thanksgiving grocery list, don’t. Many first-time turkey-day hosts are in your same shoes, still deciding what will be on the menu. If you’re also concerned with the costs of this holiday, you’ll find comfort in knowing that grocery prices are actually lower and still falling this year. In fact, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of Thanksgiving day meal for 10 is $49.87 this year, a decrease from $50.11 in 2015.
However, we all know how we can get carried away when we have family and friends over. Hopefully, this list of last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner will keep you on track.
Take no shame in using coupons
Check around your local grocery stores for coupons. With the holidays on everyone’s minds, stores are also sending out direct mailers filled with deals and savings. Use this route to compare and contrast store deals too. Even if they aren’t coming directly to your doorstep, the internet is a great resource for you to find coupons, particularly for those side dishes that can add up. Try Coupons.com, where you can save on a variety of products, even dish detergent for all those dishes accumulated during the family feast.
Don’t overdo it
One of the more difficult parts of hosting a large dinner is getting those serving sizes right. It’s easier to plan for having a bunch of food rather than just doing a little math. More often than no, we usually always overeat, right? And even after distributing leftovers, it still can amount to too much. You’ll end up wasting not just food but money as well. So, unless you plan on donating to a food bank, why not save everyone a little heartache and cut back on some dishes this year.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Sorry, I am not really calling you stupid. I know you are very intelligent! But, I find the K.I.S.S. method to be very effective in my life both professionally and personally. Instead of going all out and buying new Thanksgiving decor, save money by finding some DIY decoration tips online. It’s amazing what you can do with paper and scissors. You could even check to your online dollar store for simple items that will spruce up your home on a dime. Plus, your loved ones aren’t going to mind the lack of decor anyway. They care more about seeing you and hearing how your life is going.
Make it a potluck
One of the most effective last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner is to turn part of it into a potluck. Ask everyone to bring one side dish and let them know you’ll cover the rest. You could turn this into a fun way to learn everyone’s cooking style or make sure that everyone is getting something they like to eat. Another option would be to ask guests to bring their own alcohol. Alcohol can really add up, especially when providing drinks for everyone in attendance. Box wine is a cheaper option, but it might be better to just let family know to BYOB. It can be another way to ensure everyone is enjoying the beverage of their choice as well.
Skip the paper plates
It might seem counter-intuitive, but purchasing paper plates and plasticware can add costs that may not be necessary. Although a time saver, they create an unneeded expense instead of just spending more time washing dishes instead. In my family, we help one another out with dishes so that cleanup takes up less time. Perhaps you can recruit a couple family members to help alleviate this chore by turning it into a game. Having fun together while cleaning at the same time? Sounds like a win-win to me.
These last minute ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner will hopefully relieve some stress off your shoulders (and keep your budget intact).
What would you add to the list?
Jenn Clark is a writer, PR specialist, entrepreneur, blogger and coffee enthusiast. A lover of laughter, traveling and cheese, she’s written about her life experiences here at suburbanfinance while at the same time growing other young professionals. You can find more of her work at Jennblogs.co.