Thanksgiving is in just a few weeks, but it’s not too early to start shopping for the best deals on food, decorations, and beverages. If you’re hosting a house full of friends and family, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a big holiday meal. You just need to be a little clever in your shopping and planning.
Buying all of your food at the last minute all but ensures that you’ll pay top dollar. Instead, decide what food you’ll need early (a month ahead, if possible.) Then, you can buy what you need when it’s on sale or when there’s a coupon for that item.
You can grow a lot of your Thanksgiving dinner food in your own garden. Harvest green beans in the early summer and freeze them immediately. They’ll still taste like they were fresh-picked in November. Harvest sweet potatoes and squash and keep them in the basement or garage until the holiday. Peppers can be cut up and frozen in the summer to use as needed. Other produce, like celery and onions will stay good in the garden until the first hard frost.
Many Thanksgiving staples can be purchased well in advance. Buy stuffing mix, canned vegetables, chicken stock and other non-perishable food when you find a good price. You can even buy these on sale right after the holidays and save them until next year. Most canned and pantry goods keep for a year or more. (If you do this, pay close attention to the expiration dates on the cans or packages.)
There’s no rule that says you have to cook all of the Thanksgiving dishes yourself. Instead, opt for a potluck dinner, with each guest bringing a course. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get to try new recipes.
Nature’s bounty can also help defray the cost of decorating your home for Thanksgiving. Pumpkins and gourds from the garden can be used as a centerpiece. Even leaves and corn stalks can add to the fall motif.
Thanksgiving should be a time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family, not a time to worry about money. Ease the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner by shopping early, growing your own vegetables, stocking up throughout the year, and using natural decorations.