Financial Fundamentals Blog

Money-saving tips for a fruitful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to rest, to spend time with friends and family and to, well, give thanks. To make that a little easier this year, we’ve put together a few tips to help you save money while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan out your meal
Take some time to create a comprehensive list of everything you’ll be preparing for the day. Make a grocery list to compare to your budget to assure you’re staying on track. If not, there might be something you can pare from the list. Let’s face it, if you make Green Bean Casserole every year and throw most of it away, it’s probably not worth preparing anymore.

Go potluck
Turning your Thanksgiving dinner into a potluck experience takes the burden off of the host. Once you have your meal plan established, you can have people sign up for making specific dishes, bringing the bread or rolls, or supplying a bottle of wine to pair with the meal.

Make a plan for leftovers
This could also be labeled the “don’t overdo it” section, but this is Thanksgiving we’re talking about. Even if you use the Butterball Portion Calculator to determine what will be needed, there’s a good chance you’ll go overboard, especially if it’s potluck. Thanksgiving is prime time for delicious leftovers that can be used for days after. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be all leftover turkey sandwiches. Do a quick internet search for potential leftovers-based options. Have leftover cheese from the appetizers? Match it with cranberry sauce, turkey and Brussels sprouts for the ultimate Thanksgiving pizza. Make a turkey pot pie with leftover stuffing as the crust. And, how could you go wrong making a delicious golden soup stock from the turkey bones and veggies?

Don’t use disposables
At the end of a day of cooking and entertaining, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend time washing dishes. The trick is to consider all of the money you’ll save by not buying cups, plates, bowls and flatware that just get thrown into the trash once you’re done with it. You’ll be doing a major solid for the environment, too. Enlist help to clear the table, and turn the dishwashing into an assembly line. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it’ll go, and you’ll have some money left over for the important things – like more pie.

Shop around
Watch the ads as you get closer to Thanksgiving. By keeping an eye on the advertisements, you can get a good pulse on what costs less where and plan your shopping list accordingly. If your family likes a bottle of wine with your meal, go to the grocery stores that offer a discount for buying by the case. Start stocking up the pantry ahead of time with canned, dry and frozen goods, leaving the produce, dairy and bread for the week of Thanksgiving. That way, you’re not hit with a large grocery bill all at once, and you can skip some of the holiday week shopping insanity if you only need a final few items.

Don’t forget rewards
There are a few options for receiving rewards on your purchases.

Use a rewards credit card that offers redeemable points for purchases, such as the 7 17 Visa® Rewards Debit Card or Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card with the ScoreCard® Rewards program.You can turn your purchases into some pretty fabulous rewards like gift cards, travel discounts, and merchandise; the 7 17 Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card also offers 1% cash back for your purchases. If you don’t have the 7 17 Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card, now is the perfect time to apply.
You can increase your cash-back earnings by using grocery apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. Both provide offers from various retailers that can help take the sting out of grocery shopping.

Don’t splurge on decorations
It’s no secret that Pinterest, while helpful, has also allowed for decorating get a little out of hand. At this time of year, you don’t need to go broke to create a stunning tablescape. Search your backyard for pine cones, acorns and recently fallen leaves to set up a gorgeous table. Or, you can buy a bushel of apples to create a seasonal centerpiece. Once the day is over, you can turn those apples in a pie or send them off with the kids to school. Want a seasonal tablecloth? Don’t shell out tons of cash for one at the home goods store; visit the fabric store and pick up a length of fabric for a portion of the cost.