Holiday Money Tips: Ideas For Saving Money At Thanksgiving

Many folks see Thanksgiving as the official kickoff to the holiday season. Because of this, it can also be the kickoff to holiday-induced stress. Visions of credit card bills appear before our eyes as we browse the supermarket aisles looking for an affordable turkey and all the fixings our families so enjoy. No one wants to skimp on this day of feasting, but no one wants to go bankrupt this close to the holiday shopping season either. Fortunately, there are ways to save at Thanksgiving time without sacrificing the day's events.

Shop Early - In many supermarkets, turkeys and the other items one needs for the Thanksgiving meal go on sale in September and October (and even throughout the year). Keep an eye out for loss leaders (items that sell below cost to draw the customers into the store) and use coupons to purchase whatever you can, in advance, at a discount. You should comparison shop at different supermarkets in your neighborhood; take advantage of sales and loss leaders at all those stores. Clean out your freezer and some cabinet shelves in anticipation of the restocking.

Take advantage of free turkey promotions and other discounts - Many supermarkets offer a free Thanksgiving turkey or a percentage discount off your Thanksgiving order. You'll have to spend a certain amount of money to do this, but if you look for bargains, it shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you load up on sales items and loss leaders, use your coupons, and don't buy items you normally wouldn't. A shopping cart full of impulse items isn't saving you any money, even if you do have a free turkey in there somewhere.

Stick to your list - Make up your shopping list ahead of time and stick to it. Don't buy anything that isn't on this list. To avoid overspending, carry only as much money as you think you'll need and don't bring credit, debit or ATM cards. Most of all stay away from impulse purchases. By sticking to your list, you're sure not to overspend. By paying with cash only, you don't risk the chance of paying interest charges on your credit card bills.

Shop at the Dollar Store - If you're one of those cooks who prefer to use aluminum baking pans instead of dealing with a messy roasting pan at the end of dinner, the dollar store is for you. Large turkey-sized roasting pans can be found here for one dollar, which is at least two dollars less than what you'd find in the supermarket. Smaller pans can sometimes be found two or four for a dollar. Be careful when buying paper plates and cups at the dollar store; they may not be such a bargain. The packages of paper cups and plates sold at the dollar store usually contain much less than those you might find at the supermarket or party store.

Don't pay for convenience -Using paper products to serve dinner doesn't save as much in money as it does in time. If you're looking to save money, use plates from your kitchen cabinet and have everyone help with the cleanup.

Don't overdo the decorations - Do you really need that cardboard popup turkey sitting in the middle of the dining room table amid the matching tablecloths and paper dinnerware? Those items can be a bit pretty pricey. If you really must decorate for Thanksgiving dinner, there are ways to do it by spending little or no money. Try bringing the outdoors, indoors. Fill bowls and baskets with pinecones, acorns, and if there are still any left around, brightly colored leaves. Fill vases with evergreen boughs and fall foliage. Ask store owners or neighbors if you can take away their old Halloween pumpkins and haystacks. Most of the time, these will just end up in the dumpster anyway. On the day or week after Thanksgiving, browse the discounted merchandise items at the supermarket. You may find decorating items at quite a discount. Stock up for the next year.

Involve the guests - Who says you have to do all the work on your own? Ask your dinner guests to bring along a dish or beverage. Most people are happy to cook their specialties to contribute to the cause. There's no shame in potluck.

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and sharing a delicious meal with our loved ones. When we cut out the extras and take the time to shop for bargains, we can concentrate more on why we're together and less on the bills that will be showing up in the mail next month. Isn't that more important than a popup cardboard turkey?

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