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Best Ways to Save at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a satisfying meal and kick off the holiday season. This tradition can unfortunately be an expensive one. That means you could blow a chunk of your holiday budget before you even get to holiday shopping.

Use these tips to keep your Thanksgiving festive and thrifty.

Get a free turkey

The turkey is easily the most expensive item on a traditional Thanksgiving table — but you can often get one for free. Many supermarkets offer them as loyalty rewards, and even allow shoppers to select the turkey.

If your local supermarket doesn’t participate in this type of rewards program, opt for an alternative such as chicken or fish. It can be significantly cheaper, and allows you to create your very own Thanksgiving traditions.

Check out Mile High On The Cheap for some hot tips on where you can find free turkeys in the Denver metro area.

Choose reusable dinnerware

Disposable cutlery, tablecloths and dinnerware simplify holiday cleanup, but the costs really add up, especially if you spring for higher end items. Save money, reduce waste and create a warm, elegant atmosphere by using cloth napkins and tablecloths as well as real flatware, glassware and dishes.

Make your own sides with store brands

Purchasing prepared gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and desserts is convenient, but it’s also an unnecessary expense. Making your own sides, condiments and desserts is cheaper and often a lot tastier, too.

When cooking for a large Thanksgiving crowd, avoid brand name ingredients. You should be able to find substitutes that keep costs down without sacrificing flavor.

Simplify the menu

It’s tempting to get ambitious and create a Thanksgiving menu with more courses than your guests could possibly eat in a sitting. But to prevent spending your whole holiday budget on the Thanksgiving meal, skip the saffron, truffles and endless appetizers. Instead, plan a simple menu with a few hearty sides and stick with seasonal produce, such as apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and Brussels sprouts. These will be much more reasonably priced than imported fruits and vegetables.

Make smart Black Friday shopping decisions

Thanksgiving has also become a time to start shopping for the ensuing holidays. But Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other Thanksgiving weekend sales tend to inspire a shopping frenzy that doesn’t always result in the wisest choices. To keep your cool:

  • Make a list — and a budget — to head off impulse buys.
  • Compare prices online before making purchases.
  • Avoid opening multiple store credit cards at once. This can lower your credit scores and make it easier to overspend.
  • Hold off on buying toys, which tend to be cheaper during December’s first two weeks.

Making smarter Thanksgiving spending choices keeps dinner and shopping costs under control without putting a damper on family fun. And when the weekend is over, you’ll still have enough cash to make your winter holidays sparkle.

If you’re looking for ways to help, make your holiday budget stretch during the winter time, Fitzsimons Credit Union offers the ability to skip loan payments during the months of November, December, and January. If you need some extra funds during the holiday, Fitzsimons offers specialized personal loans.

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