The holidays are right around the corner, which means it's almost time to gather around the table for a delicious meal with family and friends. As you start planning, consider our tips to help you serve a picture-perfect feast without gobbling up your budget.
Buy groceries early (or last-minute!)
As holidays approach, some retailers will mark up their prices on things like eggs, milk, turkey and baking supplies. To avoid paying more than you have to on holiday groceries, buy the ingredients you need well in advance. You can always store perishable items such as bread and turkey in the freezer. Another strategy is to wait to shop until the last minute (think Thanksgiving morning) when retailers may reduce prices to sell items quickly. Check your favorite grocery stores often and look for sales and coupons to help you find just the right time to score the best deals.
Host a potluck-style meal
Another great way to reduce the stress of cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal is to arrange a potluck. You can still prepare the main course, but invite your guests to bring side dishes, appetizers, drinks and desserts. A potluck-style meal is more budget-friendly when feeding a crowd, plus you'll have the opportunity to try a variety of new dishes.
Ditch the plastic
It can be tempting to buy plastic plates, cups and utensils for Thanksgiving, especially if you're feeding a large group. Using plastic will certainly cut down on cleanup time, but disposable products are another added expense that can add up. Using dishes and flatware you already have is better for your wallet and the environment! Chances are your guests will offer to help wash the dishes and lighten your cleaning workload after the Thanksgiving meal is over.
DIY your decor
Wondering how to decorate your home for Thanksgiving without spending too much on a store-bought centerpiece? Try making your own decorations! Because most fall-themed décor is inspired by nature, you can put together a beautiful tablescape using items found in your own backyard. For example, collect colorful leaves, acorns and pinecones for a simple yet festive centerpiece. You can even use dried corn, small gourds or pumpkins to bring in the natural beauty of the fall season.
Freeze the leftovers
Leftovers are inevitable after a large Thanksgiving feast, and some may even argue that they're the best part of the holiday! But after a few days, your family might get sick of turkey sandwiches. Avoid waste by freezing a portion of your leftovers right away instead of throwing them out. You can also get creative in the kitchen by repurposing leftover Thanksgiving foods to make completely new dishes. For example, leftover turkey can be tossed in a pot of chili or soup. Mashed potatoes and green beans can be baked into a casserole. Cranberry sauce makes a great topping for ice cream or oatmeal. Use your imagination to make the most of your leftovers and prevent food waste!
Celebrating Thanksgiving doesn't have to be expensive. With a little planning, you can keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket without compromising on this year's Thanksgiving gathering.
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Have a Happy Thanksgiving!