Forty-six million turkeys will be ready to go during Thanksgiving this year. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will average $49.04, a 44-cent decrease from last year's average of $49.48. Supermarkets are charging $21.76 for a 16-pound turkey, which works out to $1.36 per pound (and three cents less than the per pound cost in 2012). However, we are interested in saving money, so here are six ways to cut down on cost for Thanksgiving dinner if you are working on a budget.
- Go Generic - There may be a few brands that you cannot live without for Thanksgiving, consider items such as salt, spices, frozen vegetables, and other items that can save you money without giving up the taste. Generic brands at many stores have come up in quality over the past five years and in some cases have the same exact ingredients as the big brands.
- Go pot luck with your relatives or friends - Ask each member in your family to either bring an appetizer or bring a dessert. You can keep costs down by just sticking to the main meal and drinks. This may mean you suck it up and eat your Aunt's least favorite spinach dip as voted by everybody at last Thanksgiving meal.
- Make a detailed plan - My wife and daughter have laid out an entire plan of what we are going to eat during the whole Thanksgiving day. It's important to have a plan or otherwise you will end up at the grocery store making more unnecessary purchases of food items you may not need or use during Thanksgiving day.
- Use your smart phone for coupon saving apps - Remember that there are numerous barcode scanner apps such as the one from Shop Savvy that can help you make sure you are getting the best prices on your purchases. Depending on the grocery store you shop at, you should make sure to check the store specific apps for in store sales in order to save as much money as possible.
- Don't buy that store bought bundle of wood - Make a game with the kids for picking up twigs, loose wood, or spend some time the day before splitting some wood in your backyard. Those store bought bundles of wood usually only carry 6 to 8 sticks of wood and sometimes it isn't even the best burning wood. Your other option is to look for one of those side of the road places to get some wood and dump it in the back of your car. Avoid buying from nurseries where the costs are usually marked up.
- Use decorations from your backyard - Rather than buying a big centerpiece and a whole bunch of Thanksgiving items you are just going to throw away, use the beauty of the fall around you to make some homemade centerpieces. You can use items like leaves, pine cones, acorns, and much more to serve its purpose. You won't win any awards, but nobody will care after their second glass of wine!
There are few holidays better than enjoying some football, food, and family. However, with a little bit of communication and planning you can pull it off without putting a hole in the family budget.