Tips for Saving Money on Your Thanksgiving Dinner
Who are we kidding? Thanksgiving is all about the food. At least in my family it is. Yes, we do talk with our kids about the purpose of giving thanks. We name things we are thankful for. We talk about ways we can help others. Then, we eat. And eat. And eat. But, holy mackerel if you’ve ever hosted all that eating at your house, then you know it isn’t cheap. Even if you let every aunt, uncle and second cousin bring a side dish, pie or beverage to share, you’re still on the hook for a whole lot of food…and cash.
Be strategic about where you buy your turkey. Almost every supermarket and big box store has turkeys on sale this week, but the prices vary greatly. In my neck of the woods I see them priced anywhere from $0.58 - $1.29 per pounds. On a 15 pound bird that price difference could cost you an additional $10.65. It’s worth taking a few minutes to browse the sales flyers from your area stores to find the best deal. (One tip - you are probably going to get the best price at a supermarket, not at a big box retailer.)
Beyond the turkey, keep the appetizers, side dishes and desserts simple. When you pick exotic and extravagant recipes, then you’re likely to need random (aka expensive) ingredients that you don’t have around the house. Off you go to buy saffron, rice vinegar and spices that you’ll never use again. Instead, use the ingredient search at AllRecipes.com and specify what you have in the cupboard and what you don’t, then let it suggest recipes that fit the bill.
You may have family favorite recipes that require you to buy some one-time use ingredient like buttermilk or pumpkin pie spice. Before you head to the store, google each item and look for a substitute. You’ll be amazed to learn how to make your own buttermilk, spice mixes and baking powder. Or, to find ingredients that work just as well for cooking wine or exotic vinegars.
And finally, wine and spirits can add up. Not only is boxed wine cheaper than bottled wine, but there are many fine quality options out there. It’s not just for college kids! On average, one box of wine is equivalent to four bottles. Most boxed wine is $20 or less, which equates to $5 per bottle.
How do you keep the costs manageable when you host large family get-togethers?