Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to get together and count their blessings (not the calories). But the food and the autumn decorations have become very much a part of Thanksgiving traditions.

If you’ve ever prepared and/or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, you know it can be a lot of work and can get pretty expensive. But it can still be cheaper than going out for dinner.

Here are some of the ways you can shave the costs (and stress) off your turkey dinner:

It’s all in the planning

  • Plan ahead. Before you hit the grocery store, make a list of what you’re going to buy beforehand and you’ll be less tempted to overbuy food and last minute decorations, you don’t need.
  • Share responsibility. Share the burden and the cost of food and decorating. Ask for help and don’t discount the idea of a potluck. Someone can take care of the turkey, while others can bring the ham, the stuffings, the cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and whatever tasty treats you have planned. Have others help with the decorations and table settings. Also consider rotating Thanksgiving dinner, so you don’t have to shoulder the burden every year. This year my place. Next year, yours.
  • Don’t overbuy. Most overestimate the size of turkey they need and overall amount of food. The Turkey Farmers of Canada have a pretty good turkey calculator to estimate how much turkey you should buy, with or without leftovers and roasting and barbeque times.
  • Take advantage of Thanksgiving leftovers. Thanksgiving doesn’t stop there. Leftovers can quickly fill your lunches and dinners for the week. If you don’t mind the extra turkey lunches for the week, buy a bigger bird with leftovers in mind. This might sound contradictory to my previous point, but you’re not actually overbuying, just taking leftovers into account. It’ll be cheaper than buying lunches for the rest of the week. A refrigerated turkey will last about 3-4 days. A frozen turkey can last much longer. It does lose a little flavour, but frozen turkey makes for a pretty good turkey soup.
  • Keep an eye out for good buys. The week leading up to Thanksgiving usually has some great deals. Check your flyers for deals and coupons. Turkeys and cranberry sauce are usually loss leaders, meaning they’re priced low, sometimes even at a loss this time of the year – just to get you in the store to buy other stuff. But we all know better. And if you find a great sale, buy the extra turkey and freeze it. There’s all kinds of things you can make out of your Thanksgiving turkey.
  • Nature makes the best decorations. Go for a nature walk with your family and friends. Things like pinecones, acorns, leaves, branches and flowers are readily available and may be even in your own backyard. Use what you find to decorate the table with and make gorgeous wreaths and baskets.

So do yourself a favour. Don’t be running around like a turkey this Thanksgiving. Stop stressing out and plan your meal. Spend that time, in good company and good cheer.

Have yourself a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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