Feasting for Less

First the larger turkeys are cheaper than the smaller ones, so buy the largest one that you can. If you don't want tons of leftovers, the local national chain grocery store butcher will cut the turkey in half for you. Just freeze the other half for a later date. Without so many leftovers the family may be more willing to have turkey again. Also, that's one less thing to purchase for a later date when family and friends are gathering.

Frozen turkey is the least expensive kind to purchase since they have a longer shelf life than fresh turkeys. However frozen turkeys require more preparation time since the bird needs to be defrosted ahead of time which can take up to several days. You need to consider how busy you anticipate being on Thanksgiving Day to weigh if a fresh or pre-seasoned turkey's cost is worth the time it saves you in preparation.

Go potluck this year. Contact your guests to let them know the planned meal. If some of them offer to help, have them bring a portion of that meal. Not only is this a frugal time and money saver for you, your guests will more than likely be happy that they were able to contribute.

If you are open to considering a vegetarian holiday, it is a great way to save because rice, beans, and vegetables are a lot cheaper than meat and healthier for you too! Also, selecting recipes based on the ingredients already in your pantry, spice rack or refrigerator is a smart way to save. Balance "expensive" and "cheap" dishes. Limit the number of dishes requiring expensive ingredients. Choose your family's favorites and serve inexpensive dishes to complement them.

Boxed wine is dramatically cheaper than bottled wine. On average, one box of wine is equivalent to four bottles. Most boxed wine is $20 or less, which equates to $5 per bottle. Water, coffee (.03¢ per 8oz serving), tea (.04¢ per serving) and Kool-Aid (.05¢ per serving) are about the least expensive beverages available.

Shop smart, buy non-perishable items months in advance when they are on sale. Be a savvy shopper. Take advantage of each store's specials without falling into the extra spending trap. Watch those "giveaways". Don't let the idea of getting something free entice you to buy extras you wouldn't normally purchase.

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