Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

There is always so much to look forward to on Thanksgiving Day, from having friends and family over for dinner to playing games together and catching up on good times — and maybe even watching a little football.

But the one thing you probably don’t look forward to is the cost of all of this, an amount that can add up quickly if you’re not careful. With inflation at an all-time high, and grocery prices soaring as a result, Thanksgiving dinner is expected to cost about 13.5% more in 2022 than it did last year.

Still, with Black Friday and other Christmas shopping dates still to come, you’ll want to save as much money as you can during the holidays. Here’s a few ways you can.

Ask guests to contribute

You don’t have to foot the bill for everything in your Thanksgiving dinner. Your guests will probably be more than happy to chip in if they can for your gathering. Just be honest with them if you’re on a budget, or discuss your plans to make it a potluck.

You could say that you’re going to take care of the turkey and mashed potatoes, but you’d like others to take care of the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie.

Look for discounts on turkey

The turkey usually is the most expensive part of your Thanksgiving dinner, and as the day gets closer, the demand for it gets higher driving the price up. But you can usually save some money on it by buying it frozen, using a store coupon on it, and buying it at a time when it’s on sale.

If you buy it early, you can keep it in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day, but just make sure you thaw it out in time.

Buy store brand

Instead of only buying well-known food brands, store brands can save you money by sometimes up to half the cost of regular brands. And usually the quality of the food isn’t any less than the more expensive brands.

Also, you may want to do some looking around at different supermarkets or cheap food outlets to see what their prices are as opposed to just sticking to your favorite store. But take advantage of coupons, discount days and anything you can to buy the cheapest food for your feast.

Cut corners

Beyond the food, you can save money on the other miscellaneous costs that come with your Thanksgiving dinner. If you need more plates or eating utensils, look at buying paper or foam plates, plastic utensils, and other cheap items.

If you want decorations for your table, you might look for cheap craft supplies to make them yourself. You could even have your guests chip in for extra items as well whether it’s plates, decorations, extra tables and chairs, or anything else you need to make your gathering special.