5 tips for Thanksgiving dinner savings - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

5 tips for Thanksgiving dinner savings

© iStockphoto.com / Nina Shannon © iStockphoto.com / Nina Shannon

By Leah Gillis

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to gather with friends and family and enjoy a feast of different foods while being thankful for all you have. There is a way to enjoy the meal you love while sticking to a budget by making a few adjustments, either to the meal itself or how you have it. Making these simple changes can help make one of the most expensive meals of the year a little more bearable for every budget.

1. Share Responsibility. 
If you are accustomed to having 20 family members and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner while you cook the entire meal, maybe it’s time to include others in the food preparation. Who knows, maybe all these years your cousin Jenny has wanted to make the potatoes or your sister-in-law really wanted to try her hand at making the turkey. By including others in the cooking, you not only turn down the pressure and burden on yourself, you allow others to take part in the meal, which they would probably enjoy doing for you in return. You could make Thanksgiving dinner a potluck, or simply ask guests how they would prefer to contribute to the meal. You just might find yourself supplying the location alone and wishing you had asked for help years before.

2. Combine Dinners.
If your meal is usually only your immediate family, consider asking neighbors or friends if they would like to have the meal together. If you add a few people or even another family to your Thanksgiving night, you will decrease by half or more your cost and workload, and again, enjoy the meal with people you love, which after all, is the idea of the holiday. Asking another family or friends if they want to be involved in a shared dinner may have another upside as well: you never know who may be looking for less expensive ways to celebrate the holiday as well, making your invitation just the thing they needed to have a great thanksgiving meal, too.

3. Change The Menu. 
Even if your family is used to having turkey with all the fixings, nothing says you can't have a year where you do something different. Thanksgiving meal is, again, about enjoying a feast with people – not necessarily what you eat at it. Try nixing one, or several, side dishes you’ve noticed not everyone likes, and consider switching to less expensive options, or leaving the dishes out entirely. By the end of the night, you’ll be more thankful for the good company and money saved than $20 organic green beans. Instead of having potatoes, turnips, beets, stuffing and corn you could chose to have cranberry sauce and stuffing only. Sure it's pared down, but it keeps the parts of the meal you most enjoy and cuts out those extra costs. Another option to consider is downsizing your dessert. Many homes offer an array of pies, candies and cocktails for enjoying post-meal, which can serious drive up the grocery bill. Stick to one or two kinds of pies and a dessert wine, and guests will be just as satisfied without you breaking the bank.

4. Skip Pricey Drinks.
While it may be tempting to impress guests with a flashy foreign wine or champagne straight from France, this purchases often add up to a much higher grocery bill. Ask friends and family members which wines they enjoy most, and do some research online for recommended brands. You’d be surprised at the variety of award winning beverages that don’t cost more than $10 per bottle.

5. Use Cheaper Ingredients. 
Sure you only want to serve organic squash, beets and potatoes, but taking advantage of frozen and canned vegetables available at any grocery store, or in bulk at superstores like Costco and Sam's Club, can dramatically lower the cost of your meal. Buying in bulk may mean you have more vegetables than you need for the meal, but you can also eat those for the next month or so, thus saving you money on future meals. Buying frozen foods or canned foods might not be your preferred way to eat, but you can still enjoy a meal of broccoli, asparagus, corn, etc. for a much cheaper price, while having a healthy meal of foods you like.

There are a lot of ways for you to save money on your thanksgiving meal this Thanksgiving holiday, so don't feel you can't enjoy a lovely, fun and delicious meal on a budget. Quite to the contrary, you may be thankful you had to get creative this year as you may enjoy the meal with new people, try new foods, and find long lasting ways to save when buying foods.

This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com

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