Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while our forks and knives are ready for action, our wallets are saying otherwise. There’s nothing cheap about preparing an epic feast for family and friends. There are sneaky added expenses, increased prices, and tempting treats around this holiday season that can have you spending more than you planned.

We have the compiled the top Thanksgiving dinner hacks that will help you have a stress-free, budget friendly holiday.

Buy a Whole Turkey (frozen, store brand)

There is a common misconception that a turkey breast is cheaper than a whole turkey. While this may be true in certain cases, you are always getting a better bang for your buck when buying a whole turkey. Why? While a turkey breast may cost a few dollars less than a whole bird, you are getting less meat which will have you buying multiple turkey breasts to feed your crowd. The average cost of a Turkey is $1.5 per pound.

Depending on your guest list and meat preferences this decision may vary. For example, if you are only having a few guests or people aren’t a fan of dark meat, then it may worth your while to stick to turkey breasts. However, if you are feeding a large crowd, buying a whole turkey is the way to go.

Regardless of what you decide, the turkey will be the biggest investment of the entire feast, so it’s worth spending a little bit more money here and saving on the sides.

Photo by: Alison Marras

Cheap Side Ideas

Splurge on the turkey and be stingy with the sides. You can easily get away with extremely delicious side dishes that won’t put a hole in your budget.

Buy Essentials in Bulk

It’s always best to buy your thanksgiving needs in bulk. Think about the main ingredients you will be using in most of your recipes to guide your purchase.

We recommend buying large bags of:

  • potatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • butter
  • other common Thanksgiving ingredients

In general, buying in bulk is a better bang for your buck then buying individually. Keep this in mind throughout your grocery shopping process.

Buy Frozen Vegetables

Get frozen food where you can. Buying broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, and any other easily accessible frozen vegetable in lieu of fresh is going to help save you big at the cash register. Frozen products tend to be much cheaper than fresh and are pick at their peak.

The best part about buying frozen products is that if you don’t use all of it, you can save it in the freezer fo all of your Thanksgiving leftover creations.

Make the Basics From Scratch

Instead of buying large amounts of pie crust and whipped cream, make them yourself. Pre-made foods always cost more than what it costs to make it from scratch. You are essentially paying for the service of someone making it for you which can add up quickly.

While it may be more work, your wallet will thank you. This is the perfect opportunity to get the kids in the kitchen to help you with the tedious Thanksgiving tasks.

Accept Help

When people ask if they can help or bring anything to dinner, our first reaction is usually, “just bring yourself! I’ve got it covered.” While that is very noble of us, the regret hits when you drop hundreds on a dinner that will be gone in 10 minutes. Accept help and let people contribute.

Even if you simply had each person bring a bottle of wine or a side dish, it would save you time, money, and stress.

Don’t let turkey day put you in a financial struggle. It’s possible to enjoy an epic feast while staying within a reasonable budget. Use this grocery guide to help navigate the store and save hundreds this holiday season!