Skip to Content

How To Save Money On Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving might look different this year but so are our finances. This post on how to save money on Thanksgiving dinner will help you celebrate in style while sticking to a budget. 

Most of us still want to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal even if not everyone is around the table with us.

However, once you start buying a turkey, all the trimmings and pies, the costs add up. 

Unfortunately, because you’re likely to be feeding many people a several-course meal, Thanksgiving dinner can become expensive quickly!

With a little bit of effort, you can cut down on costs and still have a truly enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner to be proud of.

Try the tips below for a Thanksgiving dinner to remember – on a shoestring budget! 

how to save money on Thanksgiving dinner


How To Stretch Your Money {24 Top Tips)

15 Smart Money Habits That Can Pay Off Big

How To Save Money On Thanksgiving Dinner

There are a ton of ways to save money on food in general and Thanksgiving is basically the mother of all meals so you need to really have your cost-cutting hat on in order to keep costs low. 

Try one or all of the tips below to save money and eat in style.

1.Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning is the key to success for a budget-friendly family dinner.

You probably know that meal planning in general is a great way to cut your grocery budget and this holds doubly true during the holidays. 

Make a list of everything you plan to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner and then write down roughly how much you expect to pay.

That will help you to establish a budget and see where you can save a few dollars. 

2. Shop Early

When you start buying the ingredients you need for Thanksgiving early, you have additional time to watch for sales, markdowns and special deals.

For example, you may be able to buy your turkey at a steep discount if you buy it ahead of time and freeze it.

Ideally you would start looking in October and early November for good deals on the items you want to buy (and are able to freeze). 

3. Buy Vegetables That Are In Season 

Artichoke hearts, white asparagus and similar out-of-season vegetables are going to be costly during this season.

Choose wallet-friendly, seasonal vegetables instead such as celery root, turnips and parsnips and roast them to create a traditionally fall meal. 

The best part about using seasonal vegetables is that you have more chance of buying locally grown products for a better price.

Farmer’s markets are a good place to buy your produce. 

4. Make Your Own Stuffing And Gravy

It’s almost always cheaper to make your own gravy and stuffing from scratch.

Plus it tastes better! 

Boxed and canned products are expensive.

Use pan drippings to make your gravies and day-old breads to make your own stuffing and the savings will add up quickly.

5. Put Everyone To Work

As each guest or family member to bring a dish to share at your meal.

Delegating is sometimes hard to do when you have family traditions and someone always makes the whole meal. 

Take the stress off and share the meal by making it more of a potluck.

This will help to save so much money too 

A good idea is for the host family to make the turkey and stuffing then ask other guests to bring pies, sides and rolls. 

6. Go Veggie

I’m not suggesting you completely forgo the traditional turkey, don’t worry. 

What I am saying is that  bulking up your meal with some fresh vegetable dishes is a great way to fill people up for cheap. 

Create some hearty dishes from scratch using fresh vegetables.

Casseroles with vegetables always work well on Thanksgiving.

7. Don’t Overdo It

Thanksgiving is a time of excess but with careful planning you can avoid buying a ton of food that will eventually get thrown away. 

If you make a plan and are mindful about the costs of things, you can cut down on expenses and still create a truly wonderful Thanksgiving meal for your family and friends.

Making things from scratch, while more time consuming, can save you a lot of money in the long run.

More Money Saving Tips 

10 Free Budget Printables To Fix Your Finances

How To Plan A Frugal Road Trip With The Family

How To Make Money As A Mystery Shopper