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5 Ways to Save This Thanksgiving

According to data from the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of hosting a Thanksgiving meal for a family of ten was a little over $50 last year. This was a 14% increase from the previous year, while prices continue to rise this year. Although rising costs may be tough on your wallet, there are several easy ways you can save money this Thanksgiving.

  • Host a potluck

While not always common, hosting a potluck-style dinner on Thanksgiving has grown in popularity over the years. Celebrating Thanksgiving in this fashion requires everyone attending to bring their own dishes or drinks so that costs can be split. It also saves the host time and stress from having to prepare, cook, and serve each dish. To ensure that an appropriate amount of food is served, make sure that everyone who plans to attend RSVPs ahead of time so that you can avoid cooking too little or too much food.

  • Buy an alternative to turkey

Turkey production is down this year due to avian flu outbreaks in poultry. As a result of this and inflation, wholesale turkey prices are higher, which means higher prices for consumers. According to data from the USDA, the average frozen turkey is $1.99 per pound, compared to $1.15 per pound in 2021. This can run you anywhere from $16-$32 for a turkey, depending on the size of your bird. To save money, consider buying less expensive alternatives to turkey, including chicken, beef, ham, or lasagna (it’s relatively inexpensive and very filling). You can also skip out on meat entirely and serve options like stuffed mushrooms or roasted vegetables, as not everyone eats meat.

  • Don’t shop at the last minute

By shopping for your Thanksgiving necessities, a week or two in advance, you allow yourself plenty of time to compare prices and sales. This could help save you money in the long run, while also preventing you from experiencing turkey sellouts at the grocery store. Be sure to write out a list of ingredients you need before you cook your meal, as it will prevent you from having to make multiple trips to the grocery store. Take stock of what ingredients you already have in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry, as you can utilize them in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Buying items in bulk may also help you save money.

  • No need for fancy appliances

When it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, there is no need to shell out money for new appliances. If you require an appliance that you do not want to purchase, ask someone you’ve invited to Thanksgiving dinner if you can borrow one of theirs. If you need a turkey roasting pan, for example, there are plenty of inexpensive alternatives you can use, including large casserole dishes and cast-iron skillets. To lift the turkey from the pan, you can use aluminum foil instead of buying a turkey rack, just be careful not to drop it!

  • Use recycled decor

Many people like to decorate their homes before hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of buying new decorations, consider reusing old ones from years past. You can also take advantage of the nature around you to decorate your home. Pinecones, leaves, and acorns can add a splash of autumn to your dining room or kitchen, just make sure they’re clean and free of critters before using them. If you prefer to purchase new decor pieces this Thanksgiving, consider shopping at a dollar or discount store.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there’s no need to be a turkey. While the holiday can be expensive, it doesn’t always have to be. However, you decide to celebrate this year, be sure to give thanks for all that's important to you. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Hunter Morrison

Hunter Morrison

Hunter has freelanced for various print and radio publications across Northwest Florida, including The Bay Beacon, Navarre Press, Inweekly, Crestview News Bulletin, and WUWF. He was also the Editor in Chief of the University of West Florida’s student newspaper, The Voyager. In 2023, Hunter moved to Kenai, Alaska to take up a news reporting position with KDLL Public Radio. For fun, Hunter enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, photography, thrifting, traveling, and looking for the best Thai food around. 

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