Five Tips to Save Money on Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Family laughing and enjoying Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

As the year comes rushing to the end, there are still some holidays and family events left to test your budgeting skills. One of these might be hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner. If you have a large family and extended family, you might find yourself with a lot of extra mouths to feed. This can stretch your already tight budget to the breaking point. It'll be okay. You can use these tips and a little planning to stay in your budget and save money on Thanksgiving this year.

1. Buy Your Turkey From a Supermarket

In past years, you may have gone to a butcher shop or local farm to buy your turkey. However, one of the easiest ways to save money on Thanksgiving is to visit a supermarket for your turkey. A supermarket also offers top-quality birds but at a fraction of the price. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day, many grocery stores run sales that lower the cost of an uncooked whole turkey for less than two dollars per pound.

You'll find a large selection of available turkeys. This can include organic and free-range turkeys. You can find large turkeys to feed your extended family or small birds for your immediate family. Also, there will be name brands that you recognize, such as Tyson and Perdue.

2. Ask Family Members to Bring a Side Dish

If it's common knowledge that Aunt Erma makes the best stuffing and cousin Mary makes the best cranberry sauce, then ask them to make their specialty dishes. In most cases, your family member will be flattered that you asked and will happily make up the dish.

Ask your invited guests if they have a specialty dish, and you'll find that most of them do. Enlisting their help making these dishes can save you both money and time. Plus, your relative gets the chance to show off their culinary skills.

3. Fabric Store for Linens

It's tempting to splurge and blow your budget on linens. For this one holiday meal, you probably want a new tablecloth and cloth napkins. Instead of paying the retail prices, you can stop by your local fabric store and buy the fabric you need to make your own linens. Start your search for fabric in the clearance section to save even more money. If you can hem a pair of pants, you can sew your own tablecloths, linen napkins, and placemats.

4. Shop the Weekly Ads

Save money on Thanksgiving by paying attention to your weekly ads. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day, your local stores will place the most popular food items on sale. Keep your ads on the sales circular to find the best popular deals on the ingredients you need to whip up your mashed potatoes, string beans, macaroni and cheese, and so much more.

Don't shop at only one store. Make your list for holiday shopping and then further break it down by the stores with the best prices. If it's only a dollar or two that you'd save, then it might not be worth the hassle. However, if you save $10 at each store, then shopping at multiple locations makes sense. It's a good idea to buy a little bit more than you need for unexpected guests or kitchen accidents.

5. Best Pie Contest

Everyone knows that the best dessert to go with your Thanksgiving meal is a pie. Challenge your family to a pie contest to see who makes the best. The bakers in your group will whip up pecan, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies and the rest of the family can taste each one and vote for their favorite. It's a great way to save money on dessert and create fun memories.

You can host this year's Thanksgiving Day dinner and keep your budget from stretching too far. Asking family members to bring their prized dishes and shopping the sales is a great way to save money on Thanksgiving. You'll provide a holiday meal that your family will remember for years.