5 ways to save on Thanksgiving essentials

Friends and family help each other food at a dinner party.

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Key points

  • Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner often involves buying a lot of ingredients, which can be expensive.
  • Grocery costs are on the rise due to inflation, but you can always find ways to save money.
  • Compare prices, buy in bulk, and consider hosting a dinner party rather than cooking (and paying for) everything yourself.

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this year, you probably already know that the event can be expensive. There are tons of different groceries to buy, and with grocery store prices rising this year due to inflation, your credit card bills could very well end up being much higher than you’d like.

The good news is that there are options to reduce the cost of the essentials you need on your table this year. Here are five techniques to help you reduce your Thanksgiving spending.

1. Consider a social event

Just because you’re hosting for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to buy every item on the table. In fact, most of your guests will probably ask you what they can bring. If you opt for a potluck instead of cooking everything yourself, you can lower your grocery bill and maybe try some new holiday favorites your loved ones bring that you might not have thought of making yourself.

2. Compare the prices of several grocery stores

When shopping for Thanksgiving, you don’t necessarily have to go to your regular grocery store. Many different retailers are offering special sales on various holiday staples. Check flyers, make a list of places that offer the best prices, and consider visiting one or two stores with the best bargains to keep costs down.

3. Buy in bulk if you can

Sometimes you can get a good deal if you buy wholesale from a warehouse club like Sam’s Club or Costco. If you’re a member (or know a member who will take you shopping), you could reduce your expenses by taking advantage of discounted prices.

Of course, if you’re buying in bulk, the key to saving money is to make sure you’re not wasting anything. You can limit your bulk purchases to items on your Thanksgiving table that you will also eat after the holidays are over. Or you could team up with other families. You may not personally need an industrial-sized can of cranberry sauce, but if you share the can with several of your neighbors, you could all save.

4. Switch to frozen or canned vegetables

Fresh vegetables can be expensive, but there’s no rule that your sides have to be made with them. Frozen and canned vegetables can taste the same — and have the same nutrients — as fresh produce, but can sometimes cost a fraction of the price.

5. Take advantage of loyalty programs to earn a free turkey

Finally, you should research if there are any grocery stores in your area that offer a free turkey if you make a certain amount of purchases. Turkeys are often one of the most expensive parts of the holiday meal, so getting one for free could help lower your overall expenses.

If you haven’t spent enough to meet the requirements yet, you can see if buying gift cards in store counts. Not all stores allow this, but if yours does, you can purchase a gift card to reach your spending limit, then use that gift card to shop throughout the year.

By following these five simple tips, we hope you can host a great event without spending more money than you’re comfortable with. It would certainly be something to be thankful for.

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