5 Thanksgiving Menu Planning Tips to Help Your Budget

Estimated Monthly Savings: $100

Thanksgiving is full of family, food, and fun… and challenges. You are already anxious about having a house full of guests, extended relatives getting along, and your turkey being dry. Add to those worries the expenses that come with menu planning and grocery shopping and you have a cornucopia of stress. A tight budget doesn’t have to strain your holiday, and you can host a festive Thanksgiving feast while managing to save some money for those Black Friday Deals. Here are 5 preparation tips to help you save money before even stepping foot inside a grocery store.

Get an Accurate Guest Count

Knowing exactly how many people are coming to your table will ensure that you don’t cook too much or too little. Buy a slightly smaller turkey than you think you will need to feed your guests, and prepare extra sides to guarantee that no one will leave their seat hungry. If you are concerned about not having enough turkey, buy some extra turkey legs instead of a larger turkey. Or, if you are hosting only a few people and don’t want weeks of leftovers, prepare some turkey breasts or tenderloins which are more inexpensive than a whole bird.

Plan a Traditional Menu

As soon as the Halloween candy hits the discount bins, stores are full of Thanksgiving bargains. Gather local store ads and look for coupons and deals on the traditional fare, such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, and frozen turkeys. Often there will be ways to earn a free turkey by spending a certain amount of money in-store. Pair these deals with coupons and store card savings, and you can easily fill your cart for less.

Give Your Guests What They Want

Does your stuffing go untouched every year? Mashed potatoes get passed over for the sweet potato casserole? Don’t throw food (and money) in the trash. It is hard to stray from tradition, but substitute unpopular dishes with tried-and-true favorites. If your family doesn’t like turkey but will devour a lasagna, consider changing it up and making a meal you know they will enjoy.

Shop Your Pantry

Don’t spend money on items that you already have! Take stock of your pantry and make note of staples that are components of your meal. Potatoes, frozen veggies, cans of broth, flour, sugar, seasonings… no need to buy more and waste what is in your cupboard. Save those dollars and put them towards items that still require purchasing.

Ask for Help

Rather than foot the cost of the entire meal, reach out to your guests for help! Send out a group email with a list of menu of items needed, and have guests choose what they wish to bring. Your guests will be able to showcase their cooking skills and feel like they are contributing to the occasion. As an added bonus, this tip will also cut down on the time you spend in the kitchen, allowing you to mingle with your guests and truly enjoy their company.