Cost-Saving Tips to Host Thanksgiving Dinner

The holiday season is kicking off with Thanksgiving, which means that there will be a lot of upcoming celebrations in the near future. But, don’t get stuffed paying high prices on hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. By preparing in advance and following some of these tips, you can host a beautiful, tasty, and memorable evening with friends and family without having to stress about the associated costs. 

Also, the good news is that the average price of Thanksgiving dinner was the lowest it had been since 2010. The American Farm Bureau Federation collected data from more than 230 cost surveys and found that the average Thanksgiving meal for 10 people cost $46.90 in 2020. This figure dropped from $48.91 in 2019. So, something uplifting did come out of 2020 after all, and without a doubt, there’s still a lot to be grateful for! 

Now, let’s get into the cost-cutting tips for your Turkey Day celebrations. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cost-Cutting Tips 

Depending on your unique situation, some of these tips may be of use and others may be skippable. 

But, we’ve compiled some suggestions for how to keep the price as low as possible when you’re hosting this seasonal and savory meal. 

Create a Menu and Shopping List 

First things first, it’s important to plan your menu in advance. A menu will of course dictate your shopping list. Also, when you write down your menu, you can make sure to double check your shopping list so you don’t have to rush back to the store in a panic while you’re busy in the kitchen. To keep the costs down, try to stick to basic dishes. This is because you can repurpose many of the ingredients and use them after the holiday if your dishes aren’t too unusual. If there are some ingredients that are only used once, check to see if you already have something you can use as a substitute instead. 

Check Your Pantry 

Before you head to the store, go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry to make sure that you don’t already have some of the ingredients you need. There are a lot of spices and seasonings that you will likely already have laying around. 

Price Match and Use Coupons 

There are some grocery stores that are willing to perform price matching. So, spend some time going through mailers and clippings to see what’s being advertised in your area. If you can find a store that does honor price matching, be sure to conduct research in advance and bring proof of lower prices elsewhere. That way, you can be sure to get the best deal. At the same time, keep your eyes peeled for coupons and promotions around Thanksgiving. Some stores may even offer up a free turkey when you spend a certain amount of money within a certain time period. 

Preserve Fresh Herbs 

If you’re buying any fresh herbs to cook with, treat them like you would a bouquet of flowers. That means, you can buy them a few days in advance of Thanksgiving. But, be sure to clip the ends off and store them in water as herbs are living organisms. Herbs that need to be treated this way are “soft herbs,” like parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, mint, mint, and targon. For “hard herbs,” like rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and chives, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the fridge in an airtight container. The paper towel helps them retain moisture for freshness, and the container keeps out oxygen. 

Shop for Turkey Wisely

As we mentioned before, there is a chance that some stores will offer free turkey to those who spend a certain amount of money. If you don’t plan to spend that amount on Thanksgiving dinner alone, try to reach the minimum by buying items in bulk that can be preserved and that you know you will need over time. Or, consider asking a friend or some family to shop with you, and then you can share the turkey on the big day. Additionally, frozen turkeys tend to be less expensive than fresh turkey. Keep in mind that a frozen turkey needs to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of meat. Or, if you’re okay with being a little less traditional on Thanksgiving day, forego the turkey entirely and cook a plant-based meal or choose an animal protein that is less pricey. 

Buy Generic Products 

Generic brands versus brand names are usually less expensive. Consumer Reports noted that generic products are an average of 25% cheaper than the same items with a brand name on them. Some items that you’ll notice a difference in price for generic store names over brand names are: frozen vegetables, canned foods, and milk, for example. 

Shop for Wholesale Beverages 

Your grocery tab can quickly add up, especially when you include alcohol and beverages in your shopping cart. Instead of shopping for alcohol at the grocery store, consider peeping into a wholesale liquor store to take advantage of sales that they may be running. If you’re going to drink wine, consider boxed wine versus bottled wine. While boxed wine sometimes does get a bad reputation, you can air it out in a decanter ahead of time. 

Try Out Potluck Style 

A great way to really drive down your Thanksgiving costs is to celebrate potluck style. This means that everyone who attends your meal is expected to contribute by bringing or cooking a dish of their own. If you do plan to host potluck style, be sure that you give your guests an adequate amount of time to prepare. It also helps to create a shared document like a Google Spreadsheet with your guest list and allow each person to mark down what they plan to bring. This way, you won’t have different people showing up with the same thing. Be sure that you communicate any dietary restrictions if you’re letting guests bring their own dish. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Be Grateful for Friends, Family, and Savings 

Whatever you choose to call the day of Thanksgiving, it’s all about spending time with the people you love and expressing gratitude for everything that you have. Even if times are financially constrained, it’s possible to host a wonderful Thanksgiving meal for an affordable price by planning ahead, shopping early, looking out for deals, and employing some of the recommendations listed above. 

For this holiday season and every special occasion thereafter, our team at Cash Factory USA wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and joyous day! 

High interest loans can be expensive and should be used for short-term financial needs only, not as long-term solutions. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling. Cash Factory USA does not provide financial advice. Visit for rates and terms. 101 Convention Center Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89109. 

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