Five things you need to know: Thanksgiving on a budget

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather around for a feast complete with all the fixings, but for some, the holiday’s festivities can be stressful on the pocketbook.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, at about $48.91 the cost of Thanksgiving for a family of 10 has gone down and hasn’t changed much since 2018.

Here are five things to know to make Thanksgiving dinner more cost-effective:

  1. Make it from scratch: When shopping for a meal, it can save time to grab pre-made items and serve, but it’ll cost you. To avoid paying the overhead, try buying the five-pound sack of potatoes to mash or the yeast and shortening to bake homemade dinner rolls. Living on a Dime recommended a recipe that makes three-dozen rolls for about 50 cents.
  2. Don’t discount the dollar store: Trust the local dollar store to carry everything from cleaning products to art supplies but also groceries. Find Thanksgiving staples like green beans and sweet potatoes in the canned goods, or frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer aisle.
  3. Potluck-style: Making one dish is cheaper than providing the entire meal — if others are attending, have everyone bring at least one main or side dish to contribute.
  4. Get the rewards card: The price of turkey in the US has gone down to an average $1.30 per pound, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Instead of spending roughly $21.00 for the holiday centerpiece, cut costs by signing up for a free rewards card at the local grocery store. Using the loyalty card can save shoppers up to a dollar per pound at some grocery chains.
  5. Leftovers are key: Save the most on a Thanksgiving feast by nixing the “feast” and keeping it simple — who eats all the fixings anyway? But if tradition obliges, spare some change by re-purposing leftovers for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight-snacks in the days…or months following. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, “leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days or frozen for three to four months.”

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