Kitchen Table Economics

3 Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Millions of Americans are scrambling to stack their shelves with Thanksgiving treats. But, from turkeys to cranberry sauce and holiday pie, preparing a Thanksgiving table can take a toll on family budgets. Here are three ways to save money:

1. Set a budget

You should create a meal plan. Record the number of guests and their preferences, then list all of the food items and ingredients needed before going to the supermarket. Write everything down proactively and set an upper limit on how much you are willing to spend. A few ideas: Take it easy on the appetizers. Cut down on the desserts. Do you really need 10 plates of leftovers? You can also organize a potluck, so that guests can help out with sides and desserts. (Yes, this means BYOB.) Spreading the costs around saves you money.

2. Hunt for deals

If you opt for a more traditional meal, there are always cost-cutting options for those willing to look for them. Frozen turkeys can cost anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less than fresh turkeys, giving you more bang for the buck. Opting for generic or store brands instead of brand names can also cut your costs in half without sacrificing quality. It’s also a good idea to shop early—procrastinating comes with higher prices and longer lines!

3. Avoid impulse shopping

This isn’t just a Thanksgiving tip. Going into the supermarket blind and spontaneously adding items to your shopping cart makes you lose track of costs. Roughly 90 percent of Americans admit to being “impulse purchasers,” which costs them as much as $200 in additional credit-card charges per month. That’s $2,400 a year! Even worse, 71 percent of Americans regret buying goods impulsively. Don’t be one of them. Making a budget and finding the best deals should help, but also remind yourself: Shop for needs, not wants.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Job Creators Network!