Thanksgiving Day is almost here. Traditionally, it's the holiday when we Americans lounge around with family or friends, watch football, and stuff ourselves with rich food. It's also a day to give thanks for what we have—family and friends, leisure time, plenty to eat.
But Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday spending spree. After all, the Black Friday sales await. And then Cyber Monday...
Here are some tips for how to save money at Thanksgiving and still enjoy the holiday, so it doesn't have to be more expensive than necessary.
- Take advantage of sales on traditional holiday favorites and their ingredients. While you don't want to wait until the last minute to do your grocery shopping, some bargains pop up as the big date nears.
- If you're serving turkey, try not to buy a much larger bird than needed for the group you're expecting. (Good luck if there will only be two of you for dinner, and you like both dark and white meat; plan for plenty of leftovers.)
- Follow food safety protocol when thawing, stuffing, cooking, storing, etc. Read instructions. Keep the kitchen clean as you go; wash utensils and cutting boards frequently. Who needs the added expense and inconvenience of a trip to the emergency room for food poisoning?
- Pets will probably enjoy a holiday treat, too, but be careful what you feed them; they could get sick on some of the rich human food you're serving. And don't give poultry bones to dogs or cats. They can splinter and cause internal injury. Also, keep your trash can and recycling bin out of reach of animals; they could cut themselves licking sharp edges of cans not thoroughly washed. Keep your pets safe and healthy, and avoid an unexpected visit to the veterinarian.
- Store leftovers promptly. Not only do you want to avoid food-borne illness and an unhealthy temptation for your pets, but it's a shame to waste good food by letting it sit out and spoil.
- If you have a lot of leftovers, freeze part of them right away. Warmed over Thanksgiving dinner tastes scrumptious the next day, but after several days of grazing on the same feast, people are ready to eat something different. Separate the leftovers into usable portions and label them if necessary. My mother used to fill aluminum TV-dinner trays with single servings of turkey and trimmings and then freeze them—perfect for feeding the kids months later on a parents' night out. I like to divide boneless, skinless meat into portions measured for future casserole dishes. (Turkey makes a great substitute for chicken in many recipes.)
A lot of money, time, and effort can go into preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Why not make the best return on investment possible?
What tips do you have for saving money at Thanksgiving? I would love to hear your comments.