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How To Save on Thanksgiving

 

by Jodi Furman

Getting ahead of the holidays doesn't mean spending a fortune, it simply means having athanksgiving
 game plan that will get the yummiest food and most gorgeous décor to your home so you can celebrate with your family without going broke.  Here are a few great tips that will keep both your family and your wallet thankful on Thanksgiving.

Turkey and All of the Trimmings
  • You'll find the best prices on most traditional Thanksgiving ingredients in the week or two leading up to the holiday-- whereas whole turkey is upwards of $2 and $3 per pound normally, you'll find deals for as low as $.20 and $.30 per pound just before the holidays.
  • Many grocery stores will offer FREE turkeys to loyal customers who spend a certain amount of money during the month of November or October. Buy all of your ingredients ahead of time at the same place if you know that this deal will be offered!
  • If you have to buy the turkey, what kind do you REALLY need? There are many different varieties (smoked, honey, etc.), but buying a frozen turkey at a much lower price than fresh can taste just as great with a little bit of preparation!
  • When choosing your turkey, be conscious of price, but buy one that is a little larger than what will be eaten at your meal so you can provide delicious leftovers for the whole family for a few days. The bones can be used for soup, and the turkey can be used for a wide variety of recipes.
  • Instead of buying from a supermarket, buy locally (farmers’ markets, Co-Ops, CSAs, organic buying clubs) to find organic produce or free-range turkey for less. Many farms will deliver to your home or have distribution points on designated days (www.eatwild.com). You are also helping your local economy – doubly fabuLESS!
  • Buy produce that’s in season and plan your menu accordingly. Buying what's in season and local to you will often be both much cheaper and fresher than buying imported fruits and veggies. Although this varies depending on your geographical location, what’s usually in season includes: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, brussel sprouts, celery, chestnuts, fennel, kiwi, lemons, oranges, pears, pomegranate, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, rutabaga, dates, apples, watercress.  Find what's in season in your area here: http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/
  • For stuffing, rather than buying a boxed mix, buy day old artisanal quality bread (you can even buy it way ahead of time and freeze it until you need it.) You will save money while serving a higher quality and better tasting product!
  • Look in your pantry – based on what kind of grains, spices and sauces you might already have, find new recipes using what you have on hand so you don’t have to go out and buy new things that you are only going to use for one meal! An easy way to find recipes is to “Google Cook”-- plug the items into a search engine add the word “recipe” and a TON of recipes will pop up for you to try out.
  • Have an old-fashioned potluck dinner where your guests each bring their favorite, tried and tested recipes-- less cooking and stress for you and more fun for everyone involved.
  • Know your limits: if baking and/or cooking is not your cup of tea, feel free to buy some (or all) of your meal items ready made items from a local store or restaurant.  Many local and national chains will offer “meal deals” where all you have to do is place the order and pick up your meal.  Or, just pick up specific items-- buying a store bought pie might only cost a dollar or two more than making it yourself but it will save you an hour or more of hassle.  It might cost you a bit more to buy ready made than making everything from scratch, but it will save you stress and that just might be a worthwhile 'investment' in your happiness, that way you can enjoy your family and guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen.

Thanksgiving Décor
  • 'Invest' in high quality decorations that you can use each and every year. Instead of a Thanksgiving specific decor, consider a more flexible 'harvest' theme that can from mid-October up to and including Thanksgiving. Many items will be available for a fraction of retail starting on November 1st as stores clearance out their Halloween inventory. 
  • Find ideas and inspiration from magazines, blogs and from sites like Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/) where you can search for, as well as organize, your Thanksgiving crafts, recipes, and decorating ideas.
  • Look to your garden for inspiration. You can fill glass bowls and vases with pinecones, fruit (such as lemons or apples), or even leaves, branches, and flowers.
  • Centerpieces such as pumpkins, squash, and other gourds can later also be used to cook soup or pie!
  • Local fabric stores may have discounted fabric swatches that can be used for colorful table runners and/or napkins.
  • if you like to use serving dishes and platters, buy reusable dishes that aren’t necessarily seasonal. You can repurpose them and use them to hold bills, keys and paperwork the other 364 days of the year. A gorgeous spice colored bowl can be used for a multitude of other things, but if you buy an item with a turkey on it, that pretty much precludes anything other than Thanksgiving.
     
  • If you have kids or grandkids, use their art to decorate your home.  Have a rotating gallery of art that you can switch out each month, it's a way to make something special and personal, without spending a dime-- it will also make your kids swell with pride to see their masterpieces hung with pride!  

Jodi Furman is a working mom of 3 and the founder of LiveFabuLESS.com, where she shares her tips and tricks for saving money on everything from fashion to toilet paper. 

 

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