Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Thanksgiving

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Many of us are feeling the effects of this economy in our bank accounts, yet prices still seem to be going up for many of our commonly purchased items. Let's be thankful that gas prices are down, but Christmas is right around the corner and we need to cut corners in our expenses when we see the opportunity.

Thanksgiving is the biggest food holiday of the year, and food prices have gone up an average of 5.6% for a Thanksgiving dinner. Last year the average Thanksgiving meal to serve 10 people was $42.26. The same meal this year is $44.61. When the economy suffers, the costs of food does not go down. People need food to survive. Interestingly, when you account for inflation, the 12-item Thanksgiving meal is actually 8% cheaper than it was in 1988. I don't know about you, but that doesn't make the grocery bill any easier to swallow.

Top 10 Tips to Cut Costs on Your Thanksgiving Dinner:
  1. Shop the ads. Look for sales on your favorite items.
  2. Don't go to 3 different stores. That wastes your precious time not to mention gas. Ask the store with the best deals if they will price match their competitor if you bring in the ad.
  3. Buy store brands if they are cheaper (they usually are) unless the brand name is on sale and/or if you have a coupon.
  4. Use coupons. You can clip coupons from the newspaper, Sunday paper inserts, store ads, and even online.
  5. Modify your menu to match ads or coupons. If you were counting on shrimp or brie but it is too expensive, find something else that is on sale to serve.
  6. Make a list. A list will help you stay on track and avoid impluse buying which pushes up the dollars on the grocery bill.
  7. Get a frozen turkey instead of a fresh one. Turkeys can take 4-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator, so go out soon to pick yours up. Frozen turkeys can save you 50 cents or more per pound.
  8. Make things homemade. Often it is cheaper (and healthier!) to make something yourself rather than purchase it already done.
  9. Make it a potluck. Ask family members to bring dishes so you don't have the expense and work all riding on you.
  10. MOST IMPORTANT: Don't overbuy. If you are feeding 10 people don't buy for 25 people. You don't want to run out of food, but you also don't want leftovers that get thrown away. The highest food cost is food that is thrown away.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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