According to the Virgina Farms Bureau, the average Thanksgiving meal is up 12% from last year. However, it is still very affordable with the average price of $45.89 for 10 adults with a traditional meal with all the fixings.
What can you do to reduce your costs even further? Below I give 7 simple ideas on how to reduce your costs this Holiday season.
- Use What You Have. What do you already have in your pantry? Dig around in your pantry, freezer, and cabinets to see what ingredients you already have. Then scour your recipe books to utilize the ingredients you have on hand. (If you have been following my blog and using my shopping lists, you should already have a decent stockpile of some holiday items!)
- Plan Ahead. After scouring your pantry, make a list of what you need to buy. Try not to stray from that list. Buy early and stockpile the best deals! A few weeks before any major holiday, you will start to see sales of different items you will usually use in preparation for the holiday. Use your coupons when needed items are on sale to get the best rock bottom price! Don’t wait until the last minute when the items on sale may not be in stock. Buy ahead and stockpile those holiday ingredients. (A friend recently told me she already started buying Pillsbury products a few weeks ago that she knew she would need for Thanksgiving since it was really really cheap!)
- Reevaluate your menu. It seems like every year, we throw out so much food. It is nice to have more than needed but when you show up at the party and there is 10 pies and only 6 families….most of that is going to end up in the trash can! If you aren’t hosting, call your hostess ahead of time and ask what is needed.
- Cook from Scratch. If you have time, cook your side dishes and desserts from scratch. Using the ingredients you buy at rock bottom prices, cook your favorite dessert from scratch instead of buying a costly version at a bakery.
- Make ahead: Shhhhhhh….No one will know if you make your side dishes or desserts ahead of time and freeze them! Unthaw the night before the big day to save yourself time.
- Kid’s Activities. Download free kid’s activities on the internet to keep those kiddo’s busy! Betty Crocker has this PDF you can download with various fun activities and this page gives tons of ideas for a fun kid table!
- Leftovers. Since you will invariably have leftovers, plan ahead to freeze or reuse the items for different meals during the rest of the week. Forget about turkey sandwiches for weeks! Revamp dinner recipes with the leftover turkey and make turkey pot pies, turkey casseroles, etc. Pillsbury has some great ideas on what to do with those turkey leftovers.