You have the perfect turkey day menu thought out in your head: the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls and pumpkin pie. But then you write down all of the ingredients needed for every dish, and you suddenly have a lengthy and fairly expensive grocery list. To keep your wallet just as full as your stomach, here are a few ways to save money on Thanksgiving groceries:
Get an Accurate Head Count
Unfortunately, Facebook events don’t always result in an accurate headcount. You always have those people who say that they’re definitely coming to dinner but then don’t show up. If you do go the Facebook event route, send out reminders telling people to only click “attending” if they are 100 percent sure they will be there. This way, you will know exactly how much food to buy for the occasion.
Buy the Bird Early
Never wait until the last minute to get your turkey–supermarkets often increase prices right before a holiday. Make room in your freezer and shop early, and look out for printable grocery coupons in your local paper, online and in magazines. You can also save money by getting a smaller turkey and supplementing the meal with lots of side dishes.
Make a Detailed List
You may think you have your grocery list memorized, but when you don’t have things written down, it can be easy to stray from your plans. Jot down everything you need in detail and stick to that and only that.
Do it Yourself
Instead of buying pre-packaged and cut vegetables, save money by purchasing fresh produce or growing your own. Prep time is the perfect opportunity to have friends over and catch up while slicing vegetables for the big Thanksgiving dinner. It’s also a good idea to make your own pies rather than going the store-bought route. Not only are made-from-scratch treats often better, they are the cheaper option.
Use Your Smartphone
Download the Grocery Pal app on your smartphone, which is perfect for monitoring price changes at supermarkets while on the go. This way, you can know that you’re getting the most bang for your buck without traveling to nine different stores to compare prices.
Head to Costco
If you’re looking for ways to save, Costco is a lifesaver. It allows you to buy things in bulk for much cheaper than you would at a traditional grocery store. This is definitely the place to stock up on beer and wine. Costco has a lot of great deals on superb selections and the prices can be up to 30 percent less than grocery stores.
You can divvy up the turkey day trimmings by asking your guests to bring a dish to pass around. Even if they don’t make food, you can encourage them to transport their own spirits and cocktails to help lower your total grocery bill.
Stock Up at the Dollar Store
You can stock up on lots of party fixings, like napkins and paper goods, at your local dollar store. Some items are just one dollar. You can’t really beat that.