Frugal Family: The Frugal Thanksgiving

It's not too early to pick up some tips help you plan for the big feast.

It’s that time of year . . . the Thursday we’ve all been waiting for is starting to draw near. Diets go by the wayside, and budgets fly out the window. Only at Thanksgiving does it seem perfectly normal to have four desserts and 15 side dishes atop the groaning table, and the cost can be staggering. So, in preparation for the Black Friday sales, I offer my take on the “Black Thursday” Budget Thanksgiving.

  1. Hosting? Accept help! When people offer to bring something, let them. Plan out a reasonable menu with your favorites, make it known, and if there’s anything your guests feel that “it won’t be Thanksgiving without…,” invite them to bring it.
  2. Feel free to break with tradition. If you’re hosting a small Thanksgiving gathering, unless you love pounds and pounds of leftovers, cook a turkey breast instead of the whole bird. It’s easier to carve, easier on the wallet and easier on the freezer later.
  3. Check the store circulars for sales. ‘Tis the season for all of the Thanksgiving favorites to be on sale, but some stores are sneaking in specials now that could benefit you when holiday baking follows in a few weeks. Kroger is already advertising deals on Thanksgiving staples like stuffing, marshmallows and cranberry sauce in its weekly ads. Publix has pumpkin pies at the ready if you just can't wait until turkey day to have one. It also might be a good idea to stock up on drinks if you have the extra room to keep them cold.
  4. Want to set a festive table without spending a fortune on a centerpiece? Use seasonal items to decorate both appealingly and on budget. Fall foliage is gorgeous in Atlanta. Gather some especially pretty leaves, add in a few small pumpkins and gourds, pinecones, acorns or other nuts, and you’ve got great décor for pennies.
  5. Most of all, remember to relax and enjoy all that the holiday represents. It’s a time to reflect and give thanks, to spend time with family and friends, and to enjoy the meal of all meals together.

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