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7 Insider Tips to Hosting a Great Thanksgiving on a Budget

October 19, 2018 | By Louis Tully


Are you going to let a turkey gobble up your holiday budget? Hopefully not. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average retail cost of frozen turkeys is $1.55 per pound. Considering the average-size turkey American households will be serving is between 15 and 22 pounds, the average cost of a bird is expected to range from $23.25 to $34.10. Not to mention all the other expenses that fall on this time of year. If installment loans are one of the things you’ve had to be thankful for this year, it may be wise to tread lightly when setting the table. Here are 7 insider tips to hosting a great Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.

Catch a Free Bird

Okay, so you might be hard-pressed to find a whole turkey that’s actually ‘free’, but there are steps you can take that may make buying a turkey feel like you’re getting it for free! For the best bargain bird, watch for special promotions your grocery store might be offering this year. In some cases, stores will offer a free turkey with a grocery purchase of $100 or more while others may offer a gift card (valued at almost the cost of a turkey) when you spend a certain amount.

Go Frozen

Buying frozen is generally cheaper than buying fresh. Just be sure to let your frozen turkey thaw out completely before placing in the oven. Also, feel free to look for your other produce items in the frozen food isle as well. This could drastically bring down your food bill.

Skip Cooking

There are exceptions to the “dine in, save more” rule, and when it comes to Thanksgiving, sometimes it pays to dine out. If cooking a big meal for 4 people seems like more trouble than it’s worth, it probably is. Take the family out for Thanksgiving dinner instead.

Less is More

Just because it’s a big holiday, doesn’t mean you have to go all-out on dinner. You don’t have to pressure yourself to make 14 sides. Nobody needs that much food. Either stick to the basics or just pick your family’s favorite dishes. Not only are you saving money, but time in the kitchen too, leaving more room for quality time with the family.

Look for the Sales

As always, look for the sales. Since it’s Thanksgiving, you can bet that many traditional Thanksgiving-related foods will be on sale this week. Check the Sunday paper for adds and track down the deals.


Host a Pot Luck

If you’re planning a big family gathering this Thanksgiving, you might need some extra help. A potluck is the best way to give yourself relief when hosting the party while encouraging your guests to get involved. Let everyone bring their favorite dish/dessert to the part and half the work is already done for you. Plus, you’ll save more too!

Go Non-Traditional

Who ever said it has to be turkey and stuffing? If a big turkey dinner is just not in the cards this year, don’t sweat it. In fact, many families like to celebrate Thanksgiving in their own way; breaking tradition and adding something unexpected to the table. This is especially true in various cultures. Making something your family will love that won’t break your budget is plenty enough to make everyone at the table give thanks all the same.