Holidays don’t have to cost a ton of money if you resist the urge to buy all new matching table cloths, placemats and napkins. A little menu planning and potluck meals can go a long way to saving you money. We’ve almost always been a part of a potluck Thanksgiving dinner and that helps everyone save a little money. This year we will be busy doing a service project in the early afternoon followed by a late afternoon dinner at a family member’s house where everyone will bring a side dish. I’ve been lucky in the fact that I’ve never had to spend a lot of money for Thanksgiving, even when buying the entire meal. Here are my favorite tips to help you save money on Thanksgiving.
wait for a turkey deal
In 2012 Publix gave away free turkeys for every flu shot or transferred prescription. My insurance covered my flu shot so I ended up paying nothing for a 16 pound turkey and a flu shot! Last year, there were tons of coupons for turkeys as it got closer to Thanksgiving. Hold off on buying your turkey until the week of Thanksgiving because that is when you will find the best deals and coupons. The stores don’t want to hold on to too many extras so they always have great deals the week of Thanksgiving.
pay attention to store circulars and coupons
Even if you aren’t a couponer, it is worth checking out coupon websites and store circulars (located by grocery store entrances). You’ll find tons of good deals on all the holiday canned goods and baking supplies. Take advantage of these sales and pick up extra for Christmas and food drives.
decorate with what you have
I love to entertain so I understand the desire to buy new decorations for entertaining purposes. If you really must buy some new decorations, check out your local thrift stores. Pretend like you are the Anthropologie type and get a bunch of mismatched patterns in the same color scheme. It’s cheaper than Anthropologie sales and it is trendy. Or if you absolutely must invest in new decorations, buy all white linens and dishes and liven the rest of the décor up with fresh flowers or fall leaves. Just remember: Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have, don’t get too drawn into consumerism just to entertain your guests for one meal.
Don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring a dish or pick up a pie. Many people get excited about cooking Thanksgiving dishes anyway, you might as well let them be involved.
trade meal duties with out of town guests
Some people can afford to spoil their out of town guests. By all means, if you can do that, go for it. I love to be spoiled when I’m visiting family. However, if you can’t afford it, don’t do it. Remember that one of the first steps to saving money is to be honest with your family and friends. It is not rude to be up front and discuss the idea of trading meal duties (and costs) with out of town guests. My only suggestion is to make them aware of this during the planning, don’t load this on them the moment they arrive at your house. That would be totally inappropriate!
What are your favorite tips to save money during Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear them!