Doesn’t it seem like you spend a month’s worth of your food budget on Thanksgiving? That’s the way it used to be for me as well, until I got smarter about saving. When I’d look over our Thanksgiving Day menu with five different hors d’oeuvres, a spread that meant I needed to set up an extra table, desserts that would feed a small town and an empty wallet - the fun of getting together would turn to worry about how I would finance it all!
Things are much different now. I’ve come to realize that with good planning, that I can whittle down the expense of the meal from outrageous to tiny. How do I do it?
I begin planning at least 30 days in advance, by creating a basic menu. By watching the sales circulars from the grocery stores and even checking some of the online shopping outlets, I will rework my menu based upon the sales and coupons that I collect from the newspaper, magazines and of course online.
Here’s how I do it ~
*October 24 – Create a menu.
*Be Flexible – By keeping your menu flexible you’ll find the biggest savings. If chicken wings go on sale and you were planning on beef teriyaki, you could be missing out and your guests will never know the difference.
*Butterball Turkey – Check Butterball.com for coupons and holiday partner savings (Reynolds, Pillsbury, Heinz and more!). They offer a $1 off coupon for a Butterball turkey. Coordinate them with the in-store sales for even bigger savings. I find that the turkey is the EASIEST part to save on.
*Search For and Clip Coupons – Don’t limit yourself to what you find in your newspaper. Search online at places like www.coupons.com, your local newspapers website, and deal bloggers for coupons.
*Buy in Advance – I make sure that my freezer is almost empty, so that I can stock up on foods on sale all month. You don’t want to have to pass on a savings of $1.00 a pound because you have no room to store your food.
*Cook in Advance – Some dishes can be cooked in advanced and frozen, making your Thanksgiving Day a bit easier. I often bake cakes and freeze them, only to take them out to defrost and put the frosting on the night before.
By staying organized and shopping smarter, your Thanksgiving can be a wonderful celebration without breaking the bank!