Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving on a Budget – Can it be done?

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Image by digitalart

We’re heading into a pretty scary time of year for families who are struggling financially and trying to live on a tight budget and save money.  The first of the major spending holidays is coming up on Thursday … Thanksgiving.

I know sometimes it’s hard to find something to be thankful for this time of year.  I struggle with that, too.  And when we are expected to provide a feast for our family that is intended to outdo every other meal we will prepare this year, that’s a lot of added pressure. 

We got lucky this year.  We originally thought we were going to be hosting, but my brother jumped at the opportunity.  He loves to cook, so this will be his year to shine.  The pressure is off and our only Thanksgiving Day costs will be the gas to get down to Tacoma and two pies.  Not too shabby.  In that light, I thought I’d put together a list of some ideas to whittle away at your holiday food budget.  While it might be too late to implement some of these this year, you can store them away for next year or keep them in mind for another holiday.

5 Ideas for Thanksgiving on a Budget

  1.  Take advantage of those free turkey deals.  Many stores offer free turkeys in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, providing you purchase a certain dollar amount (usually about $100 to $150).  I know I’ve been working hard to keep our weekly grocery bill less than $100, but that can be pretty difficult the week of Thanksgiving.  Even if you aren’t hosting and your bill comes to over the amount that week, get that turkey anyway (if you have a place to keep it).  Roast it up in March or so, and you’ll have cooked turkey for casseroles, soups, sandwiches, or whatever for quite some time, not to mention a lovely carcass for making broth.
  2. Can you go somewhere else for Thanksgiving?  Surely some family or friends would love to have you over.  Offer to bring a dish and you can have Thanksgiving for the price of a 10 lb. bag of potatoes or a can of pumpkin.
  3. See if anywhere in your area is doing a bundled deal (like the one we found here). 
  4.  Plan ahead.  If you can start planning your meal at least a month ahead of time, you can start nabbing items you need as they go on sale.  Adding a little bit here or there to your regular grocery trip will break up the hit so you don’t feel overwhelmed.  For example, one week add a can of pumpkin.  The next, add some green beans and stuffing mix. 
  5. Have a Thanksgiving potluck.  If you are hosting, make sure everyone else brings a dish.  You can be responsible for the turkey, but assign a dish to everyone else.  Let your sister bring the ingredients to make mashed potatoes, have your mom assemble the green bean casserole, tell your brother to pick up dinner rolls, and so on and so forth.  This will make dinner easier for everyone. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.  And even though things might be tough right now, don’t forget to say a huge “thank you” for everything that is wonderful in your life.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I'm an Associated Press reporter and I would like to speak with you for a story that I am doing on keeping Thanksgiving affordable. Can you please send your contact information to Thanks!