Thanksgiving has always been a holiday to be thankful for the ones you love and a time for family get-togethers, food, and fun. For cash-strapped families, a Thanksgiving meal can be a financial burden because of high food prices. With frugal preparation, you can cook a wonderful Thanksgiving meal without spending an entire week’s food budget on it.
In order to save the most money, you should start preparations for the meal weeks in advance. Staples such as cheese, butter, and milk can be bought on sale and frozen for later use. Coupons from Sunday circulars and the internet can be used to further reduce sales prices.
If there are going to be guests at your meal, you can make a list of foods and the amounts that will be needed to feed everyone. This will help you to make a budget for the meal. If the budget will be stretched too far by you making the entire meal, each guest can be asked to bring a covered dish to complete the side dishes. This will enable you to concentrate more on buying and preparing the turkey, trimmings, and desserts.
After you have made the food list, put it into a binder and take it to the grocery store with you. Determine when to shop to get the best deals by reviewing sales papers that are distributed the week before Thanksgiving. Because of their customers’ heavy baking needs during Thanksgiving, grocery stores tend to heavily discount the supplies that are needed during this time. This will make it a great time for you to take advantage of sales for the necessities you will need.
As each food item is bought, you can mark it off of the list so that you will not buy duplicates of anything. It is best to buy only the things on the list so that your budget will not be exceeded. Receipts for supplies bought can be kept and examined later to keep up with your budget.
Stores will lure customers in by having just a few sale items. Instead of buying the rest of the food at regular prices, you can travel to several stores to take advantage of their sales. If you can add a cents-off coupon to food that is already on sale, it will make the savings even sweeter.
You can buy frozen turkeys cheaply right before Thanksgiving. It does take 1 – 2 weeks to thaw a large turkey in the refrigerator, so your turkey will have to be bought at least two weeks in advance. If a cheap turkey can be found before then, you can keep it frozen until it is time to thaw it.
If you buy a grocery store’s brand of food, that is a great way to save money. A brand name does not necessarily make a product a better one. Store-brand foods are often cheaper and taste just as good as their name-brand equivalents. The majority of people who buy store brands find them to be of high quality.
If you make the desserts yourself, you can save money. Although store-made cakes and pies are easier and dessert mixes are more convenient, desserts made from scratch can taste the best. As a plus, you can prepare and freeze them in advance for the Thanksgiving feast.
A casserole is another dish that you can make and freeze ahead of time. Even the stuffing for the turkey can be made as a casserole and frozen for the meal. Most casseroles can feed a lot of people and are cheap to make.
Even if the budget is so tight that your family cannot afford a turkey, a wonderful vegetarian meal can be whipped up. It can be a great chance to show your creativity in the kitchen. There are many tasty vegetarian dishes that can be made in addition to tried-and-true dishes.
Thanksgiving can be an enjoyable and stress-free time for your guests and family. The holiday meal does not have to be so expensive that it breaks the food budget for the week. If preparations are begun ahead of time and the food is purchased cheaply, everyone can relax and enjoy just being with each other.