A big holiday feast is a great way to draw the entire family together. You’ll have a chance to catch up, and you’ll make memories that can last a lifetime. If you’re not careful, however, that holiday feast could put a big dent in your budget. A typical Thanksgiving celebration could cost hundreds of dollars, especially if you throw it together at the last minute. These tips can help you plan ahead and stay on track.
- Shop around for your turkey. While you might be tempted to buy early to get the best bird, some stores have last-minute sales on birds that could save you a lot of money. Look for birds labeled “organic” to avoid ingesting chemicals and antibiotics, but skip the “heritage” birds. They often cost much more. As an added bonus, save the bones at the end of the meal. Boil them with water and spices to make your own stock.
- Keep it seasonal. While you might love asparagus side dishes and strawberry salads, these ingredients will be incredibly expensive because you’re buying them when they’re not in season. Stick with corn, squash and Brussels sprouts. If you simply must have ingredients that aren’t in season, buy them canned or frozen. They’ll be a lot less expensive than their fresh, imported counterparts.
- Make it from scratch. Buying premade salads and premade breads can add a huge amount to your bottom line, and you may be sacrificing flavor at the same time. Salads and breads can be made well in advance of the big day. If you’re not an excellent salad or bread maker, ask your guests to bring one of these items to dinner. Potlucks are completely appropriate for people on a budget, and guests often appreciate the opportunity to bring something to contribute.
- Skip the alcohol. Wine, beer and spirits can be incredibly expensive, and buying cheap alternatives often just tastes cheap. Opt for fruit punches or iced teas you can make in bulk. Tell your guests you’re holding a dry Thanksgiving, and allow them to bring their own beverages if they choose to do so.
- Shoot low on centerpieces. No need to buy showy, expensive bouquets of flowers when a pyramid of small pumpkins or decorative corn will do the trick. Your kids may enjoy putting these centerpieces together as well.
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