Shop ahead – Lots of specialty holiday items are on sale right now so it’s a perfect time to stock up. Look for coupons in the newspaper and online to add to your savings. Remember, because the specialty items are on sale, the regular weekly “milk and bread” items are not. If possible buy those items in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving when they are on sale to avoid paying top dollar the week of the holiday.
Score a free turkey – Major retailers know you’ll be spending more than usual on holiday food. To lure you to their store they will offer a free turkey with a minimum purchase. I must say the purchase amount required to get your turkey has gone up a lot in the last few years but it’s still a great deal. Just follow the grocery ads to see which grocery chain is making the best offer for your needs.
Plan for less waste – Get a head count and don’t cook for 20 if you’re expecting six. The biggest turkey isn’t a bargain if you waste half so rather than roast a whole turkey, smaller families could consider roasting a turkey breast. The total cost will be lower even if the cost per pound is higher. If you really like the “whole bird” experience look for a large roasting chicken. Make a plan for using your leftover turkey ahead of time so you have all the ingredients necessary on hand. Turkey is so versatile. To avoid the ‘turkey again?” syndrome — get creative. Instead of traditional soup, make curried turkey soup. Instead of sandwiches, simmer sliced turkey in BBQ sauce and make sliders. Or make turkey salad, turkey tacos or turkey fettuccini.
Make dinner potluck – If you’re hosting the big dinner don’t hesitate to ask guests to bring a dish. It’s easiest for the host to make the turkey, stuffing and gravy and ask guests to bring sides, drinks and dessert. People like to help and it’s less work for you. Ask guests to bring plastic containers to take leftovers. Or start saving your disposable plastics to send home with friends after the meal.
Buy frozen pie – Frozen pies are crazy inexpensive right now, less than half price. If you have room in the freezer, buy extra. Yes, homemade purists, you can bake a better pie but not a cheaper one.
Don’t buy what you can borrow – If you’re hosting a crowd, ask around to borrow folding tables and chairs, extra bake ware and serving dishes, tablecloths and décor items. This also goes for that turkey baster you use once a year.
Be a rebel – If you can stand the idea, have something totally non-traditional on Thursday and plan your feast for later in the weekend. Lots of prices on traditional items are drastically reduced on Friday so you can have your holiday dinner at a savings.
Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Frugal Festivities contributed by Patti Diamond, author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com.