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Frugal Family: The Frugal Thanksgiving

Tips and sales to help you plan for the big feast.

It’s that time of year…the Thursday we’ve all been waiting for. 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 (which start at at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night and at at midnight, for those who haven’t heard yet), 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. Here are a few highlights: Publix has Nestle chocolate chips, butterscotch, etc., on sale Buy One, Get One Free this week, for example.  Whole turkeys are $.59/pound, Stove Top stuffing and Idahoan Mashed potatoes are both Buy One Get One, and pumpkin pies are $4.99. Kroger has Carolina turkey for $.79/pound, spiral-sliced ham for $1.99/pound, Pepperidge Farm stuffing 2/$5, Edwards and Marie Callendar’s pies for $4.99, and Heinz gravy and Stove Top stuffing 4/$5. Coca-Cola and 7-UP 12-packs are 4 for $12 at Kroger, too.
  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 this week – 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. Save your stress for next week when you realize there are less than 40 shopping days left until Christmas!

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