9 Ways To Save On Your Thanksgiving Day Feast

thanksgiving savings tips

Flickr/Martin Cathrae

Thanksgiving Day tends to be full of good family, friends, food and fun. Between the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and more, it can also add up. To help you save on your feast, here are nine ways to cut costs before carving the turkey.

1. Get a headcount.

When shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s important to know how many people you’ll need to feed. Send out virtual invites from a fun website like Evite and ask everyone to RSVP at least a week in advance. Once you know how many people will be attending your dinner, translate that into how much food you’ll need.

When it comes to the turkey, the rule of thumb is 1 pound per person. For all of the sides, be sure to check how many servings come in each box or can. For potatoes, don’t do more than one per person.

2. Shop smart with money-saving apps.

There are some great grocery store apps that can help you save. Ibotta and Checkout 51 will help you get cash back on almost anything at the food store, while Paribus can help you get money back on items that are discounted after you buy them online. Key Ring will also help you keep track of all your loyalty cards and programs so you can always get the store discounts, too.

3. Stock up early.

thanksgiving feast savings


When it comes to shopping for Thanksgiving, there’s never a sale that’s too early. If Shoprite or Kroger have stuffing on sale in August (because who wants to eat something like stuffing in 90-degree weather?), then buy it. Most dry and canned goods have long expiration dates, so they won’t go bad until well after Thanksgiving. You can also grab a turkey and frozen veggies while they’re on sale and stick them in the freezer until the big family meal.

4. Buy in bulk, and return items if you don’t use them.

You might already know to buy your personal hygiene products to save a pretty penny, but you can do the same with some of your Thanksgiving dinner staples. For example, many grocery stores offer savings when you buy a certain number of items at a time.

If you buy more items than you ultimately need, you might be able to return the ones you don’t use. Check your grocery store’s return policy. Shoprite and Whole Foods allow customers to return items within 30 days of purchasing them with the original receipt. Kroger, Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s offer similar policies. Just be sure to ask before you buy in bulk — not all stores accept returns!

Pro Tip: You might even be able to return the opened items that you tried and weren’t satisfied with, so be sure to ask your store’s customer service!

5. Use real plates, flatware and napkins.

Okay, so no one actually likes to wash dishes, right? But paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware can get expensive. Save by using what you have in the house. If you don’t have enough kitchenware to serve the number of people attending dinner, head to a second-hand store, garage sale or borrow dishes from a family member. Even if you have to buy new dishes, it’s still an investment since they’ll last so much longer than just one meal.

6. Buy the wine on Tuesday.

If you’re planning to serve wine with dinner, buy it on a Tuesday. Research from money-saving app Ibotta found that wine is often 4 percent cheaper on a Tuesday. Plus, if you buy it in bulk, many stores will offer an additional discount and accept returns if you don’t end up opening the bottles.

7. Pay with a rewards credit card.

credit card savings thanksgiving

Burst/Sarah Pflug

Whatever you do, pay for your groceries, wine and dishes (and everything else) with a rewards credit card. You’ll be guaranteed to earn cash back, miles or points on the money you spend at the store, which could save you in the long run. You might just rack up enough cash back to help buy those pies for dessert!

Check out the best credit cards for everyday expenses to help you save more money.

8. Invite others to cook, too.

If you’re inviting family members and friends to dinner, they’ll most likely offer to bring something in exchange for your hospitality. When they do, tell them a specific dish that you need, like mashed potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cranberry sauce or another. They’ll be honored to contribute to the feast. Plus, it saves you a few bucks and some time.

9. Reuse decorations or DIY them.

The leaves, turkeys, pumpkins and more might look amazing, but they also add up. Skip the new tablecloth and opt for the one you bought the year before. Instead of buying napkin rings, make your own. And rather than buying centerpieces, grab some family photos from around the house and put them on display in the middle of the tables. After all, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, so why not make your loved ones the center of the meal?

What other ways are you saving money on your Thanksgiving feast this year? Share your money-saving tips with us in our LinkedIn Group!


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