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How to Make a Big Thanksgiving Dinner on a Not-So-Big Budget

November 6, 2018 | By Louis Tully

Cooking at home is always a winning move when competing for financial freedom, and the holidays are no exception. Though holiday meals tend to involve a little more spending at the grocery store, there are ways you can put together a big Thanksgiving feast without gobbling up your hard-earned savings.

This year, if you play your cards right, you may not have to Google search “title loan near me” by the time it’s over. Here are some tips that could help you put the turkey on the table without putting your budget over the edge.

How Much Does Thanksgiving Dinner Cost?

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the lowest cost on a 10-serving Thanksgiving dinner in the last 5 years was around $50.00. Not too shabby right?

Well, if the average cost of a 16-pound turkey is $22, that only leaves $28 to cover everything else families like to add to their Thanksgiving menu. Not to mention the cost of dessert. Realistically, the average cost of the whole thing probably ranges between $100 - $150. Let’s see how we can bring that cost closer to the $50 price point.

How to Budget for a Big Thanksgiving Feast

Budgeting for a big feast isn’t the easiest of tasks, but it can be done. The first thing you’ll need to figure out before plotting a budget is how many people you’ll be serving this year. Then, you can hunt down a turkey that suits the number of people you’re serving.

Remember not to go overboard. There’s no sense in buying a 22-pound bird when you only feeding eight. If that’s the case, a 12-pound turkey will do just fine. The key to shopping on a budget is making a shopping list and sticking to it. To ensure you’ll stay closer to your budget, try sticking with the basics and avoid the non-traditional stuff:

  • A turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Biscuits
  • Green bean casserole
  • Candied yams

Shop Where the Savings Are

Before heading out, check the ads for savings and coupons. Though getting everything from one place is nice and convenient, the extra small trips to the surrounding stores might save you a lot of moola. A little planning goes a long way here. Also, keep these extra tips in mind while you’re out:

  • Only buy the quantities you need.
  • Avoid anything boxed or processed. It’s cheaper to buy fresh and cook from scratch.
  • Keep your side dishes down to a minimum.

How You Can Keep Your Tummy and Your Wallet Full All Year Round

After a little careful planning, keeping your eye on the sales, and sticking with only what you need, you’ll be surprised to find out how affordable something as a big as a Thanksgiving can be. Even Christmas can be affordable if you plan ahead of time. It’s all about being careful and taking your budget into consideration before making a purchase decision. Shopping this way may take a bit of getting used to at first, but it’s all worth it when you see what your bank account looks like ten Thanksgivings from now.