7 Turkey Tips: How to Prepare an Inexpensive Thanksgiving Dinner

7 Turkey Tips: How to Prepare an Inexpensive Thanksgiving Dinner November 7, 2011

Creating a memorable Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be expensive. There are a lot of ways you can reduce the costs of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Take the focus off of your finances and bring it back to your family with these 7-Turkey Day Tips:

1. Plan ahead

Set a per-person plate budget and create your shopping list around the total amount you want to spend. If you know that you can spend $10 a plate, you can make it a goal to keep the grocery bill under $60 if you have six guests. List out the items you would like to include for dinner and make a smart grocery list based on your per-person budget. Bonus Tip: Use this Turkey Calculator to help you find out how much you really need.

2. Use coupons and store specials

After you’ve created your smart grocery list, search out coupons relevant to your list and try to find stores that have Thanksgiving specials going on. Be careful not to get caught up in overspending because of a ‘store special.’ A quick search on coupons.com can save you a few dollars on things you would normally buy.  Just look on the front page of coupons.com and you’ll see a $2.00 coupon for a turkey, and $0.50 to $1.00 for crescent rolls.

3. Make dishes from scratch

With a little time and elbow grease, you can create your own pie crusts, fillings, rolls, gravy, and other Thanksgiving classics for a fraction of the cost to buy premade items. Most of these items can be made ahead of time and can be stored until the big day – saving you both time and money!

4. Conserve energy costs

When you’re ready to bake your dishes, take a few minutes to think through the timing of the items. With a little research, you can adjust certain dishes for different temperatures by cooking them a little longer or shorter. This tip can cut your energy use a little saving you a little money and make your Thanksgiving a little more ‘green.’ 

5. Avoid plastic plates and utensils

I know it’s more convenient to simply throw away the plates. But if you’re budget is $100 and plastic plates, cups, and utensils come close to $10, you can save 10% by taking a few minutes to wash the plates by hand. Besides, you can use that time to catch up with an old relative (or use it to escape from your uncle’s crazy stories).

6. Properly store leftovers

After dinner, take a few minutes to pack up the leftover turkey and trimmings for leftovers. You’ll be surprised how many lunches you can stretch out from the remaining food and save a few bucks doing it!

7. Mix it up!

Ask your family to bring dishes like desserts, casseroles, aunt Martha’s famous potato thing…whatever it is, just ask! This can save you time and help keep your costs down when hosting your Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember, the holidays are a wonderful time of the year to spend with your family and friends and to simply enjoy life. I hope these tips can help ease the stress that can come from hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and that you can save a few dollars too!

What are some ideas that you’ve done to cut the costs of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner?


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