The experts tell us the economy is better, and since I’m nowhere near expert status on such things, I’ll just take their word for it. However, a lot of businesses are in the re-building stage and that means less money for a lot of people.
Americans are resourceful, though, and we’ve learned to make do. It’s a little tougher around the holidays, though. We won’t even talk about Christmas yet. My purse is currently pleading with my pocket calendar for more time. When it comes to sneaking up on people, Christmas has ninja-like skills and apparently sock feet.
That’s all another post though. Besides, I don’t really want to think much about it right now, I’ll get a headache. So much to do! Let’s stick with looking at tips for spending less money on our Thanksgiving meal. Most of us have our hands full with this beautiful holiday, so first things first.
We want to have as grand a Thanksgiving meal as we ever have. Heck most of us insist on it. And, I swear on my turkey platter, it can be done – even on the cheap. Okay, make that cheap-er. Below are some tips I’ve discovered, usually the hard way. PLEASE share your own tips in the comments, I’m looking for more tips as much as anyone!
- This year I did a little better with preparation than in years past, but I wish I’d started sooner. I’ve been grabbing essentials for a few weeks now. For example, on a trip to Target recently, I went ahead and grabbed all the cans of green beans I’ll need for Green Bean Casserole. I noticed in the circular that Target had their canned green beans on sale – a sale obviously planned by someone who has cooked a few Thanksgiving meals in their time! From now til Thanksgiving, grab a few items you know you’ll need for your Thanksgiving meal each time you go to the store. A quick run to Kroger yesterday for cat food resulted in a bag filled with Cranberry Sauce as well. Like I said, I wish (oh how I wish!) I’d started doing this in September – I’d probably only have Turkey, buttermilk, and extra butter left to buy. How cool would that be?!
- Have you ever considered how much money is spent on drinks? Tea, coffee, water, and kool-aid are far cheaper than soft drinks and specialty drinks. Anyone can drink one of these for a meal. Of course, it might be good to have Decaf on hand if you suspect someone has a special diet.
- Frozen turkey is almost always cheaper and the larger birds are also usually the best bargain.
- Watch circulars for store sales and special promotions. Don’t forget to check circulars like Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and K-Mart in addition to grocery stores.
- When it comes to napkins and plates, check party outlets in addition to department stores.
- Cooking from scratch is cheaper than specialty kits which usually cost an arm and a leg. Find budget-friendly recipes and use them religiously.
- When people ask you if they can bring anything, DON’T SAY NO!!!! Name 3 or 4 things and tell them to pick one. A lot of times, they’ll choose more than one. If you’re one of those people who insists on doing all the cooking, then tell them to bring drinks, napkins, Cool Whip, cranberry sauce, relish tray yummies, etc. People want to contribute, allow them to do so. Now’s not the time to be a super hero – the pay’s terrible.
- Don’t forget coupons! Check the Sunday papers as well as online sources (GOOGLE “Coupons“). Coupons can really add up. My youngest daughter and I had an epic grocery store trip about a month ago in which our coupons saved us over $35.
- I have a filthy little confession to make. I’m a grocery store snob. More to the point, I’m a brand snob. You could put a name brand food item in front of me (unmarked) and a generic brand in front of me (unmarked) and I could identify the name brand 1,000 times out of 1,000 times. It’s just one of my talents that absolutely no good comes from. If you (and those you cook for) aren’t a similar oddball, check out those “discount” supermarkets. I know people who SWEAR by these stores and their off… way, way, way off…. brands. In fact, I didn’t come by my food snobbery honestly because my dad and mom both loved these warehouse type grocery stores. I used to get a huge kick out of the names of some of these products. When my dad came home one day with a laundry detergent called “Sunny Bright,” he couldn’t wait to show me. He was so proud – and yet, inside I died a little bit.
Again, if you’re sitting on any sage (see what I did there?) advice, please share.