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10 tips to save on Thanksgiving

Follow these easy steps to throw a budget-friendly feast. You'll be thankful for the savings.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 16, 2012 1:46PM

This post comes from Amanda Geronikos at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News logoThanksgiving is a time to give thanks, overeat and spend time with family -- but it isn't cheap.

 

After jumping 13% from 2010 to 2011, the price to provide a feast for 10 will rise by only 28 cents to $49.48 this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. It was $34.56 a decade ago.

 

The big-ticket item -- a 16-pound turkey -- came in at $22.23 this year," the AFBF said. "That was roughly $1.39 per pound, an increase of about 4 cents per pound, or a total of 66 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2011."

 

Luckily, there are simple ways to reduce your Turkey Day costs.  

1. Make a list.

It's easy to overspend when shopping for a much-anticipated holiday dinner. Make a list of what you'll need and exactly how much, and be sure to stick to it when you're in the store.

 

2. Keep an eye out for special coupons and promotions.

Some stores offer a free turkey if you spend a certain amount of money. ShopRite, for example, is offering a free turkey or ham to customers who spend more than $300 between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22.

 

3. Know price-matching policies.

Does a local store match competitors' advertised deals? If so, do the bulk of your shopping there. Just don't forget to bring the ads and coupons.

 

Credit: © Gary Vestal /Photographer's Choice /Getty Images
Caption: Turkey
4. Choose one meat.

For many, turkey is a must on Thanksgiving. What isn't essential, however, is ham, lamb or prime rib. Save money by simply choosing turkey or another type of meat for your family's feast.

 

5. Buy the right amount.

For turkey, it's a pound per person, unless you want leftovers. If you load up on side dishes, you can probably cut back even more. 

 

6. Buy a frozen turkey.

They're often 30% to 40% cheaper than fresh. Just be sure you have the three to five days necessary to thaw it in the fridge. 

 

7. Simplify your side dishes and desserts.

Whipping up a bowl of mashed potatoes is cheaper than cooking a seven-layer sweet potato casserole. Serve the essentials (green beans, dressing and cranberry sauce) and go light on the more expensive dishes that require lots of ingredients. For dessert, pumpkin pie and cookies are crowd pleasers and inexpensive to bake.

 

8. Look for deals on beverages.

Visit a wholesale liquor store and take advantage of sales. Boxed wine often costs $20 or less, which is the equivalent of $5 or less per bottle. Dress it up by serving it in a decanter. For nonalcoholic beverages, coffee, tea and Kool-Aid are all cheaper than soda.

 

9. Have a BYOD (bring your own dish) party.

Asking friends and family to bring a dish is a great way to mix things up. Plus, it relieves some of the meal's financial burden on the host.

 

One way to go about this is asking each guest to bring a type of dish, rather than a specific one. For example, you can suggest that some guests bring an appetizer, while others contribute a side dish or a dessert. Of course, there's no shame in asking Aunt Sally to bring her legendary apple strudel either.

 

10. Use DIY decorations.

If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you'll want to decorate. Make use of everyday items in your home or shop at the dollar store.

 

Consider using drinking glasses as candle holders (turn the glasses upside down), or dress up a pitcher with a simple cloth napkin. Also, look outside. There are plenty of things to do with all the red and orange leaves and acorns in your backyard.

 

More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:

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