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7 Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

Now that Halloween has come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Whether you’re hosting a dinner just for the family or inviting a long guest list, buying everything you need to prepare the Thanksgiving meal can put a big dent in your budget. In fact, Americans spent nearly $3 billion to celebrate the holiday in 2015. But there are several things you can do to save money and still create a traditional Thanksgiving dinner everyone will love. Take a look:

Plan the Menu/Plan a Budget

All smart spending decisions start with setting a budget. Plan your menu, then set a spending limit and keep track of how much you spend as you go. As you’re planning your menu, take into account your family’s tastes and include dishes you know everyone enjoys to avoid wasting food.

Start Shopping Early

Don’t wait until the week of Thanksgiving to do your shopping. Start stocking up now on non-perishable canned and dry goods, as well as any frozen foods you plan to use. You’ll find a better selection and won’t end up paying higher prices by waiting until the last minute.            African American family enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner

Use Coupons & Savings Apps

Stretch your Thanksgiving dinner budget by using coupons and savings apps, such as Target Cartwheel or Flipp. Stack your savings by looking for items that are already on sale and applying the additional discounts.

Buy In-Season Produce

As luck would have it, many traditional Thanksgiving dinner side dishes, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and cranberries, happen to be in season right now. Not only will you save by buying them fresh, they will taste so much better than their canned or frozen counterparts.

Don’t Go Overboard on Appetizers

They’re delicious and fun, but providing an overabundance of appetizers will leave people too full to really enjoy the main meal, which can lead to wasted food. Stick with something simple and affordable like cheese and crackers and a fresh veggie tray to take the edge off until dinner is ready.

Keep Beverages Simple

Just like appetizers, drinks are another way you can easily go over your Thanksgiving budget. Limit it to a few choices and don’t overbuy. If you’re serving wine, go for the boxed variety and transfer it to a carafe or decanter for serving. It’s also perfectly fine to ask guests to BYOB.

Have a Plan for Leftovers

You’re almost guaranteed to have leftovers, so make a plan to put them to good use. You can use them to create meals for the next few days, or simply freeze everything to enjoy later. If you go the freezer route, be sure you have enough airtight storage containers on-hand and remember to label them with the contents and date so they don’t get lost in the freezer.

For more money-saving Thanksgiving ideas and recipes, visit our Thrifty Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.

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