All Financial Education

Thanksgiving Money Saving Tips

November 21, 2016

Group of intercultural friends having Thanksgiving dinner

Feast Potluck Style

When your friends and family ask you what they can bring to contribute to the meal, take them up on it! Many times people feel uncomfortable asking their guests to bring food, but just because you’re hosting the dinner doesn’t mean you need to do all the work! Hosting a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner won’t keep you preoccupied cooking all day, so you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your friends and family. Most important, you’ll spend a lot less on food this way!

Keep It Simple

Don’t make unnecessary dishes your family doesn’t like. Even if it’s a traditional Thanksgiving dish, what’s the point of making it if hardly anyone in your family will eat it? Instead, figure out what your guests like and don’t like so you can better cater the food to their liking. This will help you prevent spending money on food that will end up going to waste.

Plan Ahead

Check out the deals at your local grocery stores! Newspapers and TV stations typically post updated lists in the last weeks before Thanksgiving on food prices at various stores. Comparing prices on food before you shop could end up saving more than you’d expect! When planning your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s also important to account for leftovers. Anyone who likes Thanksgiving dinner knows how great it is to enjoy leftovers the next day, so be sure to make extra if you’re one of those people! Plus, buying in larger quantities usually makes the price per product lower so you’ll pay less in the long run when compared to buying in smaller quantities.

Use Smaller Plates

When all those delicious Thanksgiving treats are laid out in front of you, it’s easy to let your eyes get hungrier than your stomach. One way to avoid piling up the food and over stuffing yourself is to eat off smaller plates. You don’t need to be eating off a tea cup sized plate, but using one that’s just a little smaller than the one you normally use can make a big difference in the amount you eat. This way you’ll help curb your guests tendency to overindulge; odds are they won’t notice a difference in size anyways.

Drink Responsibly

When it comes to choosing drinks for Thanksgiving dinner, remember to be “financially” responsible. It doesn’t make sense to have 30 different mixed drink options when most people will only end up drinking the same few things. Therefore, instead of trying to provide your guests with a variety of expensive concoctions, pick only two or three of your favorites to make. If you’re buying beer, wine, or soda, buy them by the case! Most grocery/liquor stores offer discounts for buying in bulk, so even though you may not need 15 bottles of wine now, you’ll end up saving money when compared to buying them individually. And who knows, the case you buy this year might last you until next Thanksgiving too!

Get Crafty

We all know that decorating for the Holidays is a part of what makes them so special, but you don’t have to break your budget to spread the holiday cheer. Instead of buying premade decorations, make your own DIY decorations from things lying around your house or yard. Objects like acorns, pine cones, and branches all make excellent decorations when used creatively. This is also a great chance to involve kids in the Thanksgiving preparations by letting them put their arts and crafts skills to good use.


All these tips are about saving money, but what is the point of saving money if you don’t give back? We’re not saying you should give away all your hard earned money to people who are less fortunate, but we are saying you should give them your time. Rather than taking your family to see a movie on Thanksgiving, take them to volunteer at your local soup kitchen/donation center for an hour. The gratification and happiness you’ll receive from donating your time will make more of an impact than donating money ever would.