Produce that's in season is not only fresher, but cheaper. If you're wondering what is in season, check out this article from Local Foods that has a great list of fall fruits and vegetables. Apples, beets, pomegranates, and winter squash -- to name a few.
2) Potluck Style
Hosting a Thanksgiving Day get-together? Have each guest bring a dish, while you master the art of the turkey! Not only will guests have a chance to bring a nostalgic dish of their own, you won't be weighted down with financing the entire meal, allowing you time to enjoy conversing and visiting with friends, instead of playing musical chairs in the kitchen cooking all the dishes.
3) Do these TWO things NOW!
Buy your turkey and freeze it -- significantly cheaper to buy it now than to buy fresh in the few days leading up. Coupons: Now is the time to be eying your local newspapers for coupons on your T-day meal items.
4) Be reasonable with your meal offerings
It can be tempting to want to try a zillion new recipes (on top of old favorites), and convince yourself that you have to have stuffing every year (even though you hate it). Plan and pick food everyone will eat and enjoy (yourself included!). Nobody envies the sad casserole dish that was barely touched, but was made because it's "tradition." If there's a favorite of a family member's, make a smaller portion to cut back on the cost and food waste.
5) Consider your portions and plan for leftovers
No one has ever eaten the table when it comes to Thanksgiving, right? By the time we've filled up on spinach dip and beer waiting for the turkey to cook, dreams of plates and plates of food become less of a reality. We have to make room for pie, after all! Consider scaling back on portion sizes or make a plan for the leftovers that will carry you into the next week: turkey enchiladas, turkey burritos, turkey soup, pie for dinner... you get the idea!
6) Generic takes the cake!
If you aren't married to a specific brand, don't be afraid to go generic. Are you going to notice the difference in caliber in black beans by going for the cheapest can? One way to find the best-priced items is to look toward the bottom of the shelves. Middle shelving is prime real estate and big brands pay for that placement. Generally, you can find similar products for cheaper on the bottom shelves.
7) Make your own food
It's always cheaper.
8) Create a new tradition!
Thanksgiving is about being together with friends and family. If it's not in your budget to do a "traditional" meal -- come up with a new plan. Pick a recipe you've always wanted to try. Don't stress about having 11 different side dishes. Enjoy making new memories and trying out a new dish that everyone will be excited to test out. Take control of the day and make it your own.
We hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving Day this year. If you'd like to donate to our #ConejoCommunityThanksgiving event, and help us feed 30 local families this year, please visit our event page to learn more about how you can donate and volunteer.
Please comment and add your tips and tricks for an affordable meal on our Facebook Page.