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Some families like to go ALL OUT for Thanksgiving dinner and serve a gourmet, multi-course menu that includes a whole bird, a whole ham, oyster dressing, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, bread & butter, a variety of vegetable sides including mac & cheese, and everyone’s favorite pies and puddings—one of each!
You can even order a prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 12 that costs almost $800 from a certain high-end retailer. And you’re still required to heat it all up before serving!
The rest of us just want to spend time with our friends and families as we fill up on our favorite dishes. According to an annual Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Survey, dinner for 10 is expected to cost a whopping total of ~$64.05 this year. That’s up 20% from 2021, but anyone who’s been in a grocery store recently isn’t surprised.
So, since we pay no mind to stranger’s expectations and the predictions of economic analysts, how ­can we save some money on Thanksgiving dinner this year?
Don’t Go Whole Turkey
Cooking the turkey is the most stressful part of Thanksgiving dinner. So don’t do it! Turkey has been averaging $1.81/lb. right now anyway. Buy turkey breast instead, that way you’ll pay only for the meat and not the carcass. Plus, you can choose just the amount you need.
Prepare Fewer Servings
Even though it saves money and time, choosing to prepare one side over another can lead to serious discord in a family. If you just can’t opt for sweet potato casserole over mashed potatoes, for example, then agree to prepare both dishes but in smaller amounts.
Shop BOGO Offers and Use Coupons
Now’s not the time to poo-poo budget consciousness! Go into your shopping apps and look for special Thanksgiving savings offers. If your favorite grocery doesn’t have an app, look for savings opportunities on their website. You can also browse the weekly circulars on free mobile apps like Flipp.
Plan a Pitch-In
If you’ve always relied on one home to do your family’s Thanksgiving hosting duties, this year you should try a Friendsgiving-style pitch-in Thanksgiving dinner. Every family who comes for dinner brings a dish to share! The host manages the invitations and organizes the dishes so everyone brings something they can 1) afford to share, and 2) successfully and safely prepare for the whole group.
Thanksgiving should never be a time of stress over hosting guests or having a tight budget. If the kids are on a kick of eating only peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or chicken fingers with ranch dressing, then have a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates those favorites. Or, forgo a formal dinner altogether and enjoy ice cream sundaes before bedtime instead. Everyone’s thankful for ice cream sundaes.