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Last Updated December 14, 2019

Thanksgiving is coming up. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to start planning. Thanksgiving can get really expensive. Therefore, in this article, I will give you 10 easy ways you can save money on Thanksgiving dinner.

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Ways To Save Money On Thanksgiving Dinner

  1. Make A Budget

The first thing you should do is make a Thanksgiving budget. Figure out how much you can afford to spend this Thanksgiving and stick to it.

Once you have an idea of how much you want to spend, make a list of what you need and how much it will cost. If you notice the total of the items on your list is more than your budget, consider cutting some things out.

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You also want to start saving in advance for your Thanksgiving dinner. An easy way to do this is to set up a Thanksgiving sinking fund. To learn more about sinking funds, read my detailed article What Is A Sinking Fund And Why You Need It? 

  1. Start Planning

If you want to save money on Thanksgiving dinner, you need to start planning as early as possible. You get the best deals when you plan in advance. This is because you can do some research and start comparison-shopping for the items on your list.

Use websites like Flipp.com to find the best deals amongst multiple stores. This can help you save a significant amount of money.

  1. Have Everyone Bring A Dish

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It can be overwhelming and expensive to cook every dish for Thanksgiving. In my family, everyone is responsible for bringing at least one dish. We discuss in advance who’s going to bring what dish so we can plan out our Thanksgiving menu.

Asking your friends and family to bring a dish helps not only ease the financial burden, but also saves time cooking.

  1. Limit The Menu

You can save money on Thanksgiving dinner by limiting the menu. Therefore, try to keep your Thanksgiving meal simple. You don’t have to cook 100 different dishes just to give your guests a good variety.

Limit your menu to only a few dishes. Make simple dishes with inexpensive ingredients.

  1. Shop Your Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer

Take time to see what items you already have and try to incorporate it into your Thanksgiving dinner. Using what you have saves you from having to go out and buy more food.

Shopping your pantry, fridge, and freezer also allows you to know what you already have so you don’t waste money buying the same item again.

Download this FREE Holiday Meal Planner. I have made it simple for you to plan all your menu items. My meal planner also makes it easy to compose a shopping list and write down how much each item will cost.

Finally, I have included a food inventory list for you so you can see what items you already have.

  1. Prepare Dishes With Overlapping Ingredients

An easy way to save money on Thanksgiving dinner is to try and prepare dishes that use overlapping ingredients. This way you are more likely to use the ingredients you buy.

For example, if a dish requires fresh thyme, look for other dishes you can prepare using that herb. By using overlapping ingredients, you will also limit the number of ingredients you have to buy. This will reduce your overall grocery bill and save you money.

Save Money Turkey

  1. Save On The Turkey

The turkey is the highlight of most people’s Thanksgiving dinner. It is also usually the most expensive thing on your grocery list. If you are planning early, you can save money on the turkey by comparing deals and shopping around.

Most supermarkets offer discounts on turkeys with a minimum purchase. Get a few store fliers and compare turkey deals to determine which one offers the best discount. Again, using websites like Flipp.com can help with this.

You can also save money by buying a frozen turkey rather than a fresh one. You will spend up to 50% less and the turkey will taste just as good. Just be sure to thaw out your turkey before Thanksgiving.

The rule of thumb is it takes 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds to thaw in the refrigerator. So a 15-pound turkey needs to be moved from the freezer to refrigerator 3-4 days before Thanksgiving.

Finally, you can possibly even get a free turkey. A lot of grocers offer a free turkey when you spend a certain dollar amount, or when you buy a ham.

If you don’t normally eat ham at your Thanksgiving dinner, you can always freeze the ham until Christmas. Keep an eye out for any free turkey promotions or ask store managers if they will be running any free turkey deals.

  1. Limit The Alcohol

save money on thanksgiving dinner

I know Thanksgiving is the time to eat, drink, and spend time with family—but try to limit the alcohol. Buying multiple bottles of alcohol can really add up. Limit the amount of alcohol you buy.

Also, try to go with more affordable options such as boxed wine and beer.  It’s even better if you skip the alcohol altogether and buy sparkling cider instead!

  1. Eat The Leftovers

After dinner, pack all the food in containers to eat as leftovers for the following days. You can even turn the leftovers into new meals.

For example, you can make sandwiches or a turkey potpie with the leftover turkey meat. Or use the turkey bones to make a soup stock. The Food Network has a lot of great recipes you can consider for your Thanksgiving leftovers.

  1. Skip Dinner

Instead of having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you can switch things up this year and not have a Thanksgiving dinner at all! Try something like volunteering on Thanksgiving Day.

Soup kitchens usually need volunteers to help out on Thanksgiving. Not only will you get to save money, but also you get a chance to see how truly blessed and fortunate you are.

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As you can see, there are so many ways to save money on Thanksgiving dinner. Begin planning your Thanksgiving celebration today if you have not already done so. Download this FREE Holiday Meal Planner to help you get started. Then try to use these simple tips to help you save money this Thanksgiving.

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