Thanksgiving Dinner: How to Save Money on Turkey Day!
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Thanksgiving. It’s a time to get together and “break bread” with our family, friends and community. A time to celebrate our country’s rich heritage. A time to give thanks for all that we have. A time to eat food…lots and lots and lots of food.
Did I mention we’ll be eating a lot of food?
Well, before we eat all that food, we’ve got to go out and buy it. Anyone who’s ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner knows that the cost of all that food can be hefty. In fact, the American Farm Bureau Federation indicates that the cost of Thanksgiving dinner has increased 13% just since last year!
But don't fret! LOZO will show you how to save money and still have a bountiful feast on Turkey Day.GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS FOR THANKSGIVING
Anyone who's joined LOZO (or, for that matter, any savvy shopper) knows that you can save up to 60% on your grocery bill
just by using grocery coupons. Since so much of the cost around Thanksgiving has to do with food, that's where we'll start.
- Printable Grocery Coupons are Easy: Printable grocery coupons can be found from hundreds of reliable sources all across the web, though searching for them on your own can be exhausting! To make it easy, we've scanned those sources and put all of the best coupons in one, easy-to-access place: LOZO! Find what you want by visiting our Grocery Coupons Bundler where you can print over 800 grocery coupons worth $1,500+ in savings!
- Coupons by Email are Even Easier: Whether it's for Thanksgiving dinner or your meals all your long, LOZO will do the work for you by finding exactly the right grocery coupons for you. How? Simply enter your shopping list, zip code and email address here. LOZO will find coupons that match the items on your list and then email them to you. In the past year, we've found $5 million in savings for our members. And, best of all, it's easy and totally free!
- Get More Savings with E-Coupons: In addition to the hundreds of printable coupons LOZO offers, you can also get E-Coupons added to your store card--no printing required! Enable this feature by signing up for free with our partners Savingstar and Cellfire.
- Don't Forget the Paper: Although we love printable grocery coupons and e-coupons for their ease, good old fashioned paper coupons are still bountiful. Check your Sunday paper and circulars to find deals at your local stores.
- Loyalty Pays: Now is a good time of year to maintain some supermarket loyalty because many stores offer free items for Thanksgiving—such as free turkeys, stuffing, pies, etc.—if you’ve spent a certain amount over recent weeks. Remember to price out how much the “free” item would cost you if you had to pay out of pocket. A free turkey valued at $30 sounds great, but it’s not so great if you have to spend an extra $50 on groceries you don’t really need. Compare the holiday deals at your local grocery stores before picking which one to be most “loyal” to over the next couple weeks.
OTHER THANKSGIVING SHOPPING TIPS
Although grocery coupons are the simplest way to cut your Thanksgiving costs, for those who want to "go the extra mile", here are a few more tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Buy Seasonal Vegetables & Fruits: You should keep this in mind all year round: buying seasonal produce is cheaper and fresher than buying out of season produce. This will help you save money, but it’s also in the spirit of the holiday and caters to most traditional Thanksgiving day menus (pumpkin pie, anyone?). If you’re not sure what’s fresh in your area, check out Sustainable Table—they’ll break it down for you by state and season.
- Plan the Menu with Costs (& Sales) in Mind!: If you’re doing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, there are a couple of things—like turkey and stuffing—that are “must-haves”. Everything else, though, is up for grabs. When planning the menu, consider which dishes will cost less to make. For example, do you already have most of the ingredients and spices in your pantry or will you need to go out and buy a bunch of new items? Also, if you’re buying new items, consider your ability to use them again. If a recipe calls for a spice that you don’t already have and don’t expect to use much of again, you’re probably better off looking for a substitute spice or skipping that recipe entirely. You can also plan your dishes around sales and coupons. Did you see a really great price on potatoes? Sounds like we’re having a potato side dish!
- Do a Pot Luck Dinner: Guests almost always ask, “Can I bring anything?” This year take them up on the offer! Make it a “pot luck” style dinner…it’ll help with the holiday budget, reduce the stress of cooking and might even make it more fun. If some (or all) of your guests aren’t particularly great cooks, have them bring wine, beer or a store-bought dessert. These are often the more expensive items anyway.
- Make a Vegetarian Main Dish: As a rule of thumb, you can buy vegetables for a lot less than buying meat, particularly when you’re trying to feed a big crew. In fact, the cost of a single 16-pound turkey is up by nearly $4, or 22%, from 2010. Chances are you'll still plan on getting a bird, but perhaps you can get a slightly smaller one or forgo a secondary meat dish by making a hearty vegetarian main dish. Plus, if you have vegetarians joining you for dinner, it's a good way to make them feel more welcome.
- Compare the Price of Homemade vs. Store-Bought: Home cookin’ is great and, often, making dishes and desserts from scratch is less expensive than buying them pre-made in a store. Still, it’s worth comparing prices, particularly with items like desserts. It may save you some money and will reduce your cooking ‘workload’.
- Estimate People’s Appetite: Think about the friends and family who will be joining you for dinner and try to estimate how much each person will eat so you can plan accordingly. Of course, you don’t want to run out of food at Thanksgiving dinner, but you also don’t want to be loaded down with tons of leftovers which can mean wasted money if the food never gets eaten. If you have 20 people coming over but 10 of them are kids you should assume the kids will be eating much less than the adults. If you’re serving turkey and a couple of sides, adults may eat ½ pound of turkey each. If you’re serving turkey and 10 sides, you can assume they’ll be eating a lot less turkey and more of everything else. And if you do have leftovers, be sure to eat or store them before they go bad. Check out StillTasty.com from some great tips on how long different foods will last and the best ways to store them.
- Avoid Expensive Holiday Decorations & Disposable Plates: You can still make your home and dining room look festive without spending a lot on expensive decorations. Try to use what you already own or buy the bare minimum and figure out creative ways to supplement. For example, if you already have a nice table cloth, pick up some color coordinated candles or knickknacks from the dollar store to cheaply extend the theme. Also, although paper plates and plastic cutlery can save time on cleanup, they’re costly and will just end up in a landfill. You’ll save money by running the dishwasher.
Following these tips and tactics should keep your costs down this Thanksgiving.
You can also make your bill even lower by checking out all of our other great tips to save money on groceries
and using our latest printable grocery coupons
. Happy Thanksgiving!