8 Turkey Day Tips That Will Save Your Money And Sanity

Posted by Rebecca Prince on November 16, 2018

Plate of pumpkin pie

So, who’s headed to the grocery store this weekend? With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it’s time to start stuffing the turkey, “candying” the yams, and adding those weird crunchy things to the green bean casserole.

All jokes aside, the holiday can be a stressful time of year – especially if you’re on a tight budget.  Fortunately, we have a few tips to help.


Bring your own dish!  There’s just too much chopping, cooking, and cleaning for you to host Thanksgiving all on your own.  It’s totally ok to ask your friends and family for help.  Rather than requesting specific dishes, ask people to bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.

Not only will you save time cooking and grocery shopping, your wallet will thank you too!

2. Spice Things Up

Who says Thanksgiving has to be about turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce?  Start a new tradition with your family by incorporating Mexican, Indian, or Korean dishes.  If you’re feeling extra adventurous, explore vegetarian options.  They’re usually much cheaper than meat!

If you make cornbread dressing every year and notice you end up throwing out lots of leftovers, don’t be so attached to tradition.  Try out a new dish!  It just makes sense to see what your guests are actually eating.

3. Volunteer

Cultivating a heart of gratitude is what Thanksgiving is truly about.  Gather your friends and family and volunteer at a soup kitchen or Meals on Wheels.  Not only will you save tons of time and money, you’ll gain a whole new perspective.  Giving back to others is just good for the soul.

4. Shop the Sales Ads

If you’re loyal to one grocery store, Thanksgiving is the time to branch out.  Skim through grocery store ads to find the best deals and write a list of the items you need and where to buy them.  You can even turn grocery shopping into a game by giving your family different portions of the list and challenging them to see who can get home first.


Have you ever researched what the Pilgrims and Native Americans ate  at the first Thanksgiving?  It might surprise you!  Take a tip from history and keep things simple. 

Thanksgiving isn’t about fancy ingredients.   If Grandma Claire’s dressing recipe calls for rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme, but none of your other recipes call for sage and thyme, omit those herbs and increase the amounts of rosemary and parsley. No one will notice that two herbs were missing!

6. Decorate with Nature

Some of the most beautiful decorations can be found in your backyard.  Use leaves, branches, pine cones or pick up a few acorn squash, pumpkins, or fall fruit.  After your Thanksgiving gathering is over, you can eat the fruits and veggies.  How’s that for not being wasteful?

7. Opt for Boxed Wine

If your family enjoys having a little vino for their Turkey Day soiree, go with boxed wine.  It’s much cheaper – and better for the environment.  On average, one box of wine is equivalent to four bottles. Most boxed wine is $20 or less, which equates to $5 per bottle.  That’s pretty tough to beat!

8. Time Your Cooking

When it comes to Thanksgiving, food costs are obvious – but Turkey Day can take a toll on your utility bill too.  Try to plan, so all your pies (or casseroles) go into the oven at the same time.  This will save on energy costs.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is about counting the blessings in your life and gathering with the people you care about.  Striving to have “the perfect meal” or “the perfect home” will leave you feeling stressed and drained.

Savor the moment, realize how good you have it, and hold your loved ones close.

Topics: Holidays, Events, & Seasonal