If you are anything like me, you’re hoping that you won’t have to walk into a grocery store until after Thanksgiving! But if you have put off or have not been able to do your Thanksgiving shopping until now, it’s still possible to save money on what’s probably the most expensive meal you’ll make all year.
Here are just a few tips to carry you into the final preparations for your big holiday meal.
1. Ditch store bought gravy. Make your own gravy. It tastes better and is significantly less expensive to make. This year, I am making my gravy early. I happened to already have some homemade chicken broth on hand. So, I made the gravy last night and will simply add the turkey drippings from the roasting pan once that bird is roasted! Gravy will keep in the refrigerator for one week. So, it’s a nice thing to cross off your list a little early.
2. Don’t use paper plates. Those fancy paper plates and plastic cups can be pricey. Use your nice plates and just plan to also use your dishwashing machine. It’ll end up cheaper to run the dishwasher than to buy all those plates and cups that you’ll just throw away. There is one exception, though. Yesterday, I met a lady who said that her mother-in-law called her and told her that she had a bunch of those nice paper plates sitting around in her pantry. She asked if she could bring them over on Thanksgiving. “Yes!” was the answer! So, if someone else offers to bring those fancy paper plates, you’ll get the best of both worlds: no dishes and no cost!
3. Use nature for your decorations. Walk outside your door and pick up some beautiful leaves to decorate around the house and the dining table. It’s beautiful and free!
What else do you do to keep your Thanksgiving thrifty?
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It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’ve begun to feel that pressure. You know what I mean, don’t you? The lists. The shopping. The preparations, which send me back to the shopping list. It’s my favorite time of the year. But it can also be such a stressful time in some ways. There are a few things we can do to try to ensure that the season remains calm and bright, rather than harried and exhausting.
Plan Ahead. Plan in advance the kinds of gifts you would like to buy and start comparison shopping to find out where you’ll get your best deal on those items. If you find that there aren’t huge differences in prices between a couple of stores, consolidate. That is, sometimes it’s worth the few extra cents to make one stop instead of two.
Shop Online. My policy is that if I can get it online at the same price or better than what I can get at a local store, I’m doing it! Having a package arrive at my door is my ideal way of shopping. Avoid shipping costs by consolidating online as well. Most sites have a minimum purchase of $35 or $50 to avoid shipping costs. It’s the best way to shop and avoid the hassles of holiday parking and crowds.
Give. This year our family is participating in Operation Christmas Child, a project which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse Ministries. It’s a wonderful way for our children to remember that this time of the year is not simply about getting a bunch of new stuff and comparing their gadgets with those of their friends. Giving to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse provides the opportunity to bring perspective to a highly commercialized special holiday.
What do you do to maintain peace of mind and perspective at this time of the year?