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Is it your turn to cook the Thanksgiving dinner this year? Maybe it is your responsibility every year to cook this large dinner. If you have a large family, it can be quite expensive to cook a whole Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, the average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people cost about $44. (http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-11-2010/save_money_on_thanksgiving_dinner.html) Even if you have a small family, you might be interested in reducing your Thanksgiving dinner costs, and many people tend to overspend when it comes to preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. The following are a few tips that you can use to have a fun, affordable Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Buy Stuff Early
So many components of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be bought days, weeks or even months ahead of time. Canned goods such as cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling last for years, and you can start buying them before Thanksgiving. Some stuffing mixes also last for a very long time. By buying some stuff early, you can help spread out the cost over a few months.
2. Put Your Family to Work
Ask family members to bring a dish to the Thanksgiving dinner, and this will help you to reduce costs. If you have enough family members or if people can bring more than one dish, you might just have to cook the turkey and the stuffing.
3. Use Coupons and Promotions
Check your paper for coupons especially during November. Stores want to sell their Thanksgiving related goods, and you can often get pretty good deals on certain brands if you take the time to look for the coupons. You can also find coupons online at websites like www.couponsuzy.com. Some stores run promotions for things like free turkeys or hams around Thanksgiving. Your local paper is a good place to find information about promotions like this.
4. Try the Local Grocery
Sometimes your local grocery will have better deals, especially around the holidays, than the big box grocery stores like Super Wal-Mart and Kroger. This isn’t always the case, but it is worth it to take a shopping trip to the local supermarket. Even if you do not find that the savings are much different, you’re supporting local business.
5. Go Veggie
This does not necessarily mean that you need to break out the tofurkey, but having more vegetarian side dishes can reduce your Thanksgiving dinner costs. Meat prices are high, and most of your dinner costs will go into buying meat. So, if you normally have a ham and a turkey every Thanksgiving, why don’t you just try turkey this year?
If this is your first time hosting your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, you might feel like you need to go out and buy festive fall decorations. While cute decorations will certainly make your house look great, you shouldn’t have to spend too much money on them. First, you can try borrowing decorations from a friend or relative. Maybe they have some old decorations that they will not be using this year. Second, if you have kids, especially young ones, you can put them in charge of decorating for dinner. Check out this hand and feet turkeys – http://crafts.kaboose.com/hands-and-feet-turkey.html.
7. Eat Your Leftovers
Get creative with your Thanksgiving leftovers so that you will actually use everything before it goes bad. If you aren’t crazy about eating leftovers for a week, you can also send food home with your family. Check out these turkey leftover recipes – http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Meat-and-Poultry/Turkey/Leftovers/Top.aspx.
8. Don’t Overspend
Try not to overspend on Thanksgiving dinner. You want to know how many people are coming and cook for that many people. If you are new at cooking for large groups talk to friends and relatives who have done it before, and they can help you determine the right portion size for your dishes. You do not want to cook too much more than you need because then you’re stuck with a bunch of leftovers. And one last tip for saving money on your Thanksgiving dinner is to check your pantry before you shop. Sometimes you already have what you need.
Crystal’s Comments: We have been hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at our house for about 10 people for the past 3 years and it always ends up costing us about $50-$60 since we do splurge on ham AND turkey. Plus we make our own dressing from scratch, sweet potatoes, pineapple stuffing, and homemade apple pie. And as if that wasn’t enough, everyone else brings their favorite dish too…yay for potlucks!