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Smart Shopper: Thanksgiving on a dime

We know Thanksgiving can cost a pretty penny, but we’re here to tell you how to have Thanksgiving on a dime.

Counting up your bills to try to budget for that Thanksgiving turkey?

We know it can cost a pretty penny, but WZDX News is here to tell you how to have Thanksgiving on a dime.  

Before you start cooking or even head to the grocery store there’s a lot of planing to do. When your plan involves feeding a ton of people turkey you’re looking at some big price tags. Just ask these guys…

“It probably averages out to about $300,” said one shopper at Star Market.

“We have a family of 28 so yeah,” said another shopper at Kroger.

“Wow, do you know how much you guys spend on Thanksgiving?” WZDX asked.

“I don’t even want to think about that!” she replied.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey last year said the average cost was just under $50 to feed 10 people, which is definitely cheap. Meanwhile, the financial website LendEDU’s survey this year shows one person spends more than $150 on the feast.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your receipt closer to that first number.

RELATED STORY: Smart Shopper: Is it cheaper buying groceries online?

First up: Make a battle plan. What’s on the menu? How many people are coming over? 

That sounds simple enough, right? Well when you start listing every delicious recipe you encounter things can get out of hand. Keep it simple. You don’t need every possible dish. Stick to the favorites or classics.

Secondly: Tell other people what to bring. That checks off stuff on your list already.

Next: Actually make that list. Look for recipes that don’t need a ton of ingredients. A quick Google search and you’ll see there are a lot of recipes for when you’re on a budget.

Now you’re ready to go check out your pantry. Got some of those ingredients already? Don’t buy more than you need.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you hit the grocery store:
Choose generic brands for ingredients. Don’t shell out money for fancy salt that nobody can even tell is fancy anyway.
It can be cheaper to buy in bulk. Don’t need a ton of potatoes? Shop with a friend then divvy it up.
See what’s cheaper to buy pre-made and what will be cheaper to buy the ingredients for and make yourself.
Larger turkeys are generally cheaper per pound and frozen birds are cheaper than fresh. You might get a discount if you’re part of the store’s loyalty club or if they have a deal where the turkey’s cheaper when you buy a certain amount of other stuff.

That leads into the last shopping tip: Find coupons! Look for weekly sales. You don’t have to do Thanksgiving dinner all in one shopping trip. Cut those coupons, download those coupon apps, and plan ahead before it’s time to chow down.

If you can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal this year you can always find out which local churches and soup kitchens are serving meals. Some people say they choose to do that anyway to save money.

Happy Thanksgiving!