In 2022, 30% of people expected to spend $50–99 on Thanksgiving, with 25% expecting to spend $100–149. If you’re like most people, this kind of spending could completely blow your budget for November and December.
But, at the same time, you don’t want to miss out on spending time with loved ones and enjoying a special meal together.
This is why we’ve come up with different tips for how to spend less on Thanksgiving dinner. There are ways you can spend time with loved ones and fill your stomach with good food—without going into a ton of debt.
11 Tips to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner
These tips range from practical ideas, like using coupons, to tips you may not have thought of yet.
1. Create and Follow a Budget
This may seem obvious, but some people plan Thanksgiving without a budget or choose to completely ignore it.
Because food is what people spend a large amount of their money on, it’s important to get a definitive headcount of who will be coming so you can prepare the right amount of food. Once you have a headcount, you can create a grocery list based on the menu you prepared.
When you go grocery shopping, make sure to just stick to your list.
2. Look at What You Already Have
While creating your grocery list, make sure to take stock of what you already have. How many of us have bought something thinking we didn’t have it—only to find out we did and now have too much?
Taking a few minutes to look at what’s in your kitchen can save you money.
3. Look for Budget Friendly Recipes
While Thanksgiving is known for its food, the real point is to be with loved ones and be thankful for what you have. So don’t be afraid to try some budget-friendly recipes.
For the sake of your budget, don’t be afraid to break traditions when it comes to what you serve. For example, turkey can get expensive fast. A 16-pound turkey cost $28.96 in 2022. You could instead serve roast chicken or even do without a big main entree.
Early planning offers a variety of benefits for both your budget and mental health. What’s more stressful than finding out you don’t have something you need the night before or the day of Thanksgiving?
Planning early allows you to take advantage of different sales and get better quality food because you’re ahead of the crowds. You can buy things like nonperishable food, decorations, and beverages ahead of time without worrying about things spoiling.
5. Use Coupons
For the coupon-savvy visitor reading this, this is another obvious tip, but there are people who don’t use coupons or even realize they’re available. You can find coupons on websites, your grocery store’s flyers, or in a store’s newsletter. There may even be special deals on your store’s social media that can’t be found elsewhere.
6. Swap Out Fresh Veggies for Frozen
Don’t be afraid to buy frozen veggies instead of fresh ones. Not only are some less expensive but most of the time, they’re frozen at peak freshness. This means you can get the same taste and nutrition for less money.
Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference!
7. Don’t Make Too Much Food
Running out of food for people to eat is usually the biggest fear when it comes to Thanksgiving—which leads to way too much food. We all tend to have eyes bigger than our stomachs, so making a normal amount of food per person is fine.
Extra food means wasting money and having too many leftovers.
8. Limit Your Beverage Selection
Like with food, it’s easy to go overboard with beverages. Making sure everyone’s taste is available is almost impossible, so it would be smarter to limit options. If guests want something different, tell them they’re free to bring their own drinks.
Also, deciding what drinks to serve ahead of time gives you a chance to find sales and coupons that might be available.
9. Don’t Waste Leftovers
Thanksgiving usually means a lot of leftovers. Having the same leftovers over and over again can get boring fast. Avoiding the leftovers causes them to go bad—which becomes a waste of food and money.
To avoid that, plan different meals that use your leftovers in creative ways. You can also freeze some of your leftovers for future use.
10. Don’t Go Overboard on Decorations
Let’s forget about food for a minute and talk about decorations. It’s fun to decorate for all the end-of-the-year holidays, including Thanksgiving. It’s tempting to go all out with decorations, but that’s a lot of money for a short experience.
Instead of decorating everything, strategically decorate high-traffic areas, like your doorway. Also, don’t bother with decorating the dinner table since the food will be covering most of it.
If you really want to decorate, see what you can make on your own or get creative with things from outside that are already available, like beautiful leaves and acorns.
11. Have a Potluck
The ultimate money-saving tip is to make Thanksgiving a potluck. While the tradition is for the host to provide all the food—ask friends and family to bring their favorite dish or beverage. Not only does this save money, but it guarantees there will be something for everyone.
Just make sure everyone brings something different.
Plus, a potluck dinner means potluck leftovers—everyone can take a little home, therefore freeing you from days and days of the same leftovers.
Power Finance Texas Can Help with the Holidays
Even with all the planning, couponing, and budgeting, sometimes money just runs out—especially around the holidays. When that happens, contact Power Finance Texas. We offer friendly installment loans and same-day funding.
You can apply online or by phone, and most loans are approved within minutes. Apply today!
FAQs about Saving Money with Thanksgiving
Did our tips not cover everything you’re looking for? Read our answers to common questions about how to spend less on Thanksgiving dinner.
How Can I Save Money on Thanksgiving Dinner?
You can save money on Thanksgiving dinner by planning, creating a budget, and taking advantage of sales and coupons.
How Much Should I Budget for Thanksgiving Dinner?
That’s going to depend on how many people are coming to dinner. According to The American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people was $64.05 in 2022.
For this year, you’ll have to take into account how inflation will affect food prices.
How Do I Save Money on Thanksgiving Turkey?
Did you know that you don’t have to buy an entire turkey? Instead, you can buy different parts of the turkey. This is a great way to save money if you’re having a smaller get-together.
How Do I Avoid Wasting Food on Thanksgiving?
You can avoid wasting food on Thanksgiving in a few ways:
- Make sure to only buy the amount of food you need based on the recipes you chose
- Give yourself enough time to cook peacefully to avoid accidents
- Use leftovers creatively to avoid food boredom
- Freeze leftovers for future use
- Share leftovers with others
What Is an Alternative to a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner?
Alternatives to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be to have chicken or other form of meat as the centerpiece meal. You could also avoid meat entirely and have a vegetarian/vegan meal. This can save money because meat, in general, can get expensive.
And as mentioned before, doing a potluck-style dinner is a great alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
What Is Cheaper than Turkey for Thanksgiving?
Other forms of meat can be a less expensive alternative than turkey during the Thanksgiving season, and some vegetarian/vegan alternatives actually can be less expensive. Explore and compare prices at your local grocery store to see what options are available.