Host a Fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

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Celebrating Thanksgiving doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. You can host a great gathering by taking some simple steps to reduce costs before this year’s big dinner. Consider these nine ways to save some green this holiday season.

Plan Early

Set your menu as soon as possible to get an early start on saving, catch early specials at the grocery store, and avoid the last-minute scramble and overpaying.

Use Coupons

When you plan early, you can take advantage of coupons and special offers. Stores are vying for your business and often offer great deals, so be on the lookout for coupons and special low prices.

Keep It Simple

By using recipes calling for items you already have, you can save money and make it easier to prepare your dishes. For example, instead of a salad made up of 10 items you don’t keep on hand, make a fresh salad with a simple dressing of minced garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil, and savor the full flavor!

Bulk Up

Plan your upcoming warehouse club shopping trips to stock up on high-quality ingredients such as organic greens, olive oil, milk and butter in bulk. Also look for bulk quantities of meat, seafood and dairy you may use more of during the holiday season.

Veg Out

You don’t have to be a strict vegetarian to enjoy some great fall vegetables. They will add to your overall dinner and could start a new tradition of saving some money. Consider purchasing a small turkey and adding a wider variety of seasonal veggies to your menu.

Change Up the Turkey

If you want to include a meat dish as part of your Thanksgiving tradition, consider more economical alternatives such as ham or roasted chicken. Especially for smaller gatherings, using one of these options could reduce the cost over what you would pay for a turkey.

Share the Love

Asking guests to bring a side dish or dessert representing their own family traditions can help them to feel more a part of the meal. A bounty of guests’ favorite recipes brings extra warmth to the table – and saves money, too.

Assign the Wine

Same goes with asking guests to bring a bottle of wine or their preferred beverages. Suggest a festive punch or hot spiced cider as possibilities.

Mull Over Leftovers

Think about the leftovers (and savings) you will enjoy as you stretch your Thanksgiving dinner beyond the big meal. Offer to share leftovers with your guests, too.

While many of us eagerly await this time of year, Thanksgiving and the holidays following it can put extra strain on your budget. Many financial institutions offer savings options to help you put a little extra away for these occasions. At Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, we have many savings options where members can set up automatic withdrawals from their checking accounts and then access the funds at the time when they need it. For more information, visit msufcu.org.


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Deidre Davis

Deidre Davis is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at MSU Federal Credit Union. MSUFCU's headquarters are at 3777 West Road East Lansing, MI 48823. Contact Deidre ad deidre.davis@msufcu.org or (517) 664-7877.

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