If you haven’t prepared for Thanksgiving (buying things you’ll need as they go on sale), this is going to be an expensive week. You’re now stuck buying what you can, where you can, and at whatever price… or are you? There are still ways to trim your costs, without cutting your traditions.
(1) Don’t overbuy – whether you are making one dish to pass, or the entire meal, remember: each dish is only a portion of the meal. A dab of this, a small slice of that… is how most people eat when there are so many offerings. So buy ingredient portions accordingly.
(2) Look for substitutes – if a recipe calls for an expensive product, run a search on cooking websites for alternatives. Many ingredients have more budget-friendly ‘cooking cousins’ that will make a great dish, at a lower cost.
(3) Don’t be afraid of store brands – most store brand products are lower in price, but not in quality. If you cannot hit a sale, or use a coupon to get that must-have item, save by choosing the store brand.
(4) Consider partially prepared offerings you twist – maybe it’s a tradition to make all your dishes from scratch. For some creations, this is not the most cost effective. Consider premade items to cut down on both the work and the expense. Then add special touches and taste twists to make them your own.
(5) Don’t forget the smaller ‘discount’ grocery stores – if you need ingredients not on sale at the big grocery stores, try a small one – like Aldi’s, Save a Lot, or even Walgreens. They can be especially good for things like herbs and seasonings, eggs, milk, canned goods and butter.
(6) Inventory before you buy – you may already have most necessary elements on hand and not even know it. For example, did you know that a delicious stuffing (dressing) needs very few ingredients? The same goes for cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, biscuits or rolls, and gravy. Shop from your pantry before you shop from the store.
(7) Use special store incentives to your advantage – many grocery stores offer special deals to move their turkeys, pies and other traditional items each week. Check out the offer and see if you can put them to work for you.
Written by: SavingsAngel Di (blog angel) on November 16, 2012.