How to Have a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving

How to Have a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving
Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: November 15, 2013's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

It is that time of year again. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we are all planning our big family feast.

Around our house, that means the traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings, and when I say all the trimmings, I mean we do not hold back.

One thing I have found over the past couple of years is that even a huge spread like the one our family serves does not have to break the bank.

While putting together a feast for all of our family and friends can be a time-consuming task, it also can be done for a lot less money than you might think.

So here it is: how to have a budget-friendly Thanksgiving that leaves everyone smiling and satisfied.

1. Plan ahead.

Stores begin advertising those Thanksgiving necessities in the first week of November, so start picking up your non-perishables early.

When combined with manufacturer coupons, you can get some great deals. By having a plan, you can buy exactly what you need and save money, as well as trips to the store.

2. Plan your turkey purchase around your regular weekly shopping trip.

Many stores will offer discount prices on turkeys when you spend a certain amount on other items.

Also, do not turn your nose up at that frozen bird. A frozen turkey is usually cheaper, and if you buy one that has been brined, it is sure to come out juicy and delicious.

3. Buy in bulk.

It’s just cheaper that way. Check out the warehouse stores for the things you will be buying a lot of like butter, flour and even potatoes.

“Consider splitting purchases

 with friends or neighbors.”

4. Never buy premade items.

Instead, take the neck and giblets from your turkey and make your own stock. Add some onion, celery and carrot trimmings to the pot and soon you will have a rich, delicious broth to use for making your gravy.

5. If you have never made your own stuffing, you are in for a treat.

Homemade cornbread stuffing is as easy as making a standard batch of cornbread ahead of time and then crumbling it and toasting in the oven for 15 minutes.

This should result in cornbread crumbles you can use just like you would the store-bought type. Season the stuffing as you normally would, and use some of your homemade turkey broth to finish it.

6. Use frozen vegetables.

Using frozen vegetables like peas, corn and green beans has the benefit of being cheaper and more convenient. These are things you can look for on sale the week or two before Thanksgiving and just stick in the freezer.

7. Drink inexpensive wine.

If your family likes to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, this can add a little bit to the bottom line.

However, there are plenty of wines that are inexpensive and still delicious. For a recommendation on a good bottle of wine that will not break the bank, head to a specialty shop rather than the grocery store.

There you will find more of a selection and usually better advice on good, inexpensive wines.

8. Make your own dessert.

Desert is another part of the meal that can quickly raise the cost of your Thanksgiving feast. To keep the expense down, consider making your own pumpkin pie.

Frozen pie crusts and canned filling are inexpensive, and when the pie is served warm from the oven, your family will not even guess that you were being frugal.

Having a budget-friendly Thanksgiving requires a little bit of planning and work, but it is very much worth the effort. The satisfaction of knowing you prepared a savory meal for your family on less than you thought possible is even better.

Oh, and one more thing. Don’t forget the turkey soup leftovers the next day. Now that is something both frugal and delicious.

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