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Thanksgiving Blog

5 Ways to Save This Thanksgiving

Check out these money saving tips for the upcoming holiday season.

Editorial Note: Articles published are intended to provide general information and educational content related to personal finance, banking, and credit union services. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, it should not be considered as financial advice and may be revised as needed.

Thanksgiving means it's time to look at all the things we have to be grateful for. It also means stuffed turkey and gravy, cranberry sauce, pie and mashed potatoes. It’s a time-honored tradition of spending time enjoying a delectable holiday meal while in the company of those we love. It can also mean spending a great deal of money.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cooking cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 guests will be approximately $50 for the dinner alone. Even if your guest list is a bit smaller than usual this year, there are still many different components to a Thanksgiving feast, even for 4-5 people or less. When preparing for such a large holiday meal, we realize that Thanksgiving dinner is not cheap. Looking for ways to cut back without compromising on the quality and festivity of your meal?

We've got you covered! Here's a list of five easy ways for you to save on your Thanksgiving cost this year.

1. If you are inviting any guests, verify their attendance. Before you start writing up a spectacular menu or a detailed shopping list, check to make sure you have an accurate head count of the guests who will be joining you for Thanksgiving dinner. Verify that all who are invited are planning on attending.

2. Make it a potluck. If you do invite people to your meal this year, slash your spending and your stress in one step by answering an enthusiastic “yes!” to every guest who asks if they can bring something. Don’t just say “anything’s fine,” though, or you might have seven desserts. Instead, let them know what kind of food you would like for them to prepare. This way, you'll know exactly what is being brought and what is still needed.

3. Serve on smaller plates. Most people will load up their plates to capacity, regardless of the plate’s size, or how hungry they actually are. Curb the wasting at your table by using smaller dinnerware. Let your guests load up all the way without leaving half-full plates. They can always refill if they still want to eat more later.

4. DIY décor. You can set a beautiful holiday table without blowing your budget; all it takes is a little imagination. Shop the local dollar store for discounted décor that still packs a punch, like colored vases, artificial flower arrangements, and other centerpieces. Look for easy, inexpensive DIY ideas online. Finally, get creative by using things from around the house — or yard — as your décor. For instance, you can create a whimsical candleholder by affixing cinnamon sticks around a candle or design an autumn-themed centerpiece with leaves and pine cones from your own yard.

5. Shop the sales. Grocery stores and shopping centers tend to run specials on turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples starting as early as Halloween. Plan your menu several weeks in advance so you can take advantage of these sales. Keep it flexible until you see the circulars and then base your dishes on the ingredients and produce that’s cheapest. Also, be sure to shop around for your turkey! Supermarkets tend to have the best deals on the birds, with some even running free turkey deals when you spend a specific amount on other groceries. Want to earn 1% cash back on all those groceries you are purchasing? Check out our Visa Platinum Cash Back card.

Your wallet and your guests will thank you! When you settle at the table this Thanksgiving, you can enjoy your meal without feeling guilty over how much you spent preparing it. All it takes is a little planning!

Looking for additional resources for money management and guidance? Click here!

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