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Let’s Have Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

November 9, 2015 - by Patrick Redo

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  As we all know, the holidays are sometimes all about excess.  So you don’t want to let the holiday entertaining put a dent in your bank account.  Take a few minutes to consider your holiday plans and come up with a blueprint that lets you celebrate without breaking your budget.

Here are some important tips before you hit the grocery store:

Don’t Overspend on pricy food and decorations

When you are planning out the details of your holiday meal, just remember that Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends.  Instead of indulging on gourmet food and expensive decorations, a classic Thanksgiving dinner can add up to major savings.  Using a few classic recipes and a simple menu, you can decrease the expense of unpopular food choices that lend themselves to leftovers.  You really can’t go wrong with a menu of roast turkey, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. 

Buy early:

The turkey will always be the single largest expense on your holiday shopping list.  Waiting until the last minute to purchase your turkey will increase the cost.  Try buying a frozen turkey earlier in the month when they are more affordable.  Also, take a thorough inventory of your pantry so you don’t buy unnecessary food items.  Most importantly, take advantage of the competition by researching the best deals from each store.  It’s the easiest way to get everything you need at the best price.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

How about having a potluck for Thanksgiving dinner?  If your guests know well in advance they will be contributing something towards the meal they will enjoy contributing to the holiday feast.   The host can focus on the turkey and your guests can display their cooking skills with the appetizers, sides and dessert.  When everyone helps out there is more time to celebrate all the things to be thankful for.

Don’t impress with your wine

Don’t feel the need to buy an expensive bottle of wine to impress your guests.  Just ask your local grocer or liquor store for a low-cost wine for your Thanksgiving table.   There are a lot of great wines for under $10.

Don’t forget the appetizers

Inexpensive appetizers will keep your guests from over-eating during the meal.  Not only does this make the overall meal healthier, it often makes it cheaper.

Decorate with what you already have

Buying Thanksgiving-themed decorations can be costly.  Buy a few quality, versatile decorations that you can show off every year and if possible, use what nature offers (leaves, herbs, gourds, etc.)  And remember, a little goes a long way.

Hosting a Thanksgiving event can be stressful, but with these tips you can enjoy the day with friends and family in an inexpensive, stress-free environment.  If you are looking for more advice on staying within a budget this holiday season, stop by allU.S. Credit Union and speak to a member service representative.

We’d love to hear from you!  What are your tips for saving money on Thanksgiving dinner?  Reply to this blog or post your tips on our Facebook page.