Whether you’re a college student stuck at school for the long weekend, or you’ve just decided to start a new tradition with friends, there are alternatives to a full-blown Thanksgiving dinner. The traditional meal with all the fixings can really add up and blow the budget. So, here are a few ways to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner and still impress your friends and family. And, you might even create some new traditions at the same time.
Be a Smart Meal Planner
Thanksgiving may be all about the food (as well as the company), but there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars to create a memorable feast for your guests. Keeping your menu simple is the first step to saving money on Thanksgiving dinner. What does that mean? Often, just a little creativity!
- Don’t chop your carrots and boil them. Simply scrub them well, leave the tops on, and bake them in a casserole dish with a little butter and syrup. They will look gourmet!
- Dress up your plain old green beans with a little color. Grate a ¼ cup of carrot, mix with a little lemon juice and a dash of sugar and garnish your green beans. They’ll think you went to French cooking school!
- Don’t dump that cranberry sauce from the can onto a plate. If you don’t want to mold it, at least slice it so the can lines can no longer be seen! Then, garnish with some orange slices.
Be a Smart Shopper
Start well ahead of time with your meal planning. Look for sales on items that will keep, like butter and drinks. Shop early, and take the time to look for sales at stores you may not regularly visit. And of course, don’t forget to start looking for coupons a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. Saving money on grocery shopping can actually be fun, and you’ll get a thrill from coupons as that total goes lower and lower.
Skip the Turkey
There are so many options when it comes to the focal point of Thanksgiving dinner. There are more vegetarians and vegans than ever before, and many Thanksgiving tables are taking on a whole new look.
- Instead of the turkey, let the stuffing be the star. Or, some other beautiful dish that you’ve prepared.
- Similarly, go vegetarian and skip the main dish altogether. Who says there has to be a main dish? If you elect not to have a turkey at all, the other dishes can each be part of the show.
- Cook a chicken instead, especially for small groups.
- Buy a turkey breast only, instead of the whole bird. Most people like the white meat best anyway. By buying the breast you get the best part and you can still make gravy.
And, if you use SideMoney you can earn points to gift cards that you can use to help purchase your feast. Just take some surveys, download apps, or watch videos and get some extra cash for your Thanksgiving meal.