How to Plan the Most Amazing Thanksgiving Dinner for Less!

September 27, 2018

During Thanksgiving dinner, you want to eat your turkey, not worry about how much the meal is eating up your budget.

While Thanksgiving dinner is a time for family get-togethers, laughter, and great food, it can be hard to enjoy if it’s taking up a lot of your household budget.

When it comes to the average Thanksgiving feast with turkey and all the fixings, the costs can really add up – especially if you have a large family or group of guests.

We’re offering some simple suggestions for trimming costs on your holiday meal, so you can enjoy both the food and time with your loved ones, without worrying about breaking the bank.

Consider the following:

  1. Make It a Potluck

One of the simplest ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner is by making it a family affair. Ask your guests to each bring a dish (and assign them dishes to bring so you don’t accidentally end up with four sweet potato casseroles). This can spread out the cost evenly across the board. If someone can’t or won’t contribute with a food item, perhaps they could contribute towards decorations or just contribute cash.

  1. Shop Deals Ahead of Time

Grocery stores know what most Canadian consumers buy around Thanksgiving and because of that they raise prices accordingly — especially closer to the day. It’s no coincidence that in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, turkeys are suddenly more expensive.

But you can also use this timing to your advantage. Because grocers know what consumers are buying, they will often release sales or coupons related to these items. You can shop early, too. If you know that you will need a turkey, for example, start looking a month or two (or even three) beforehand. If you have the freezer space, you can stock up on your entire Thanksgiving meal this way.

  1. Consider What You’re Buying

Sometimes with family traditions, like Thanksgiving dinner, it can be easy to fall into buying the same things every year not because they are the best or the most affordable, but because that’s just how ‘it’s always been done.’

Today’s food technology is different from what it was 20 years ago, and we have more options than ever before — including when it comes to affordability. Nutrition-wise, there is no difference between fresh and frozen vegetables, yet frozen vegetables can often give you more product for less money. The same is true for fresh vs. frozen turkey.

Comparison shop and take a hard look at your grocery list. Can you buy boxed wine instead of bottled, for example? Those little swaps can add up to big costs savings in the long run.

  1. DIY Decorations

Another area that can get pricey with your Thanksgiving dinner is the décor. Table settings, decorations, traditional games, and more can all add up. Cut down costs by looking for homemade or less expensive options. Dollar stores have just as many Thanksgiving decorations and craft supplies as higher-end retailers.

Plus, if you have kids, making DIY decorations can be a fun way to involve them in the Thanksgiving dinner process, and can make a cute gift for your guests.

For decorations, you can also look to your own backyard. Are there acorns on the ground? Fallen leaves that still have their colour? Pinecones? Gather these and put them in bowls, cups, or directly on the table (if they’re clean).

  1. Suggest an Alternative Dinner Activity

If Thanksgiving dinner is really out of your budget this year, even with extra savings, consider an alternative — such as volunteering or eating out. Many community organizations host holiday dinners for locals to attend for a small fee. You could either attend one of these feasts as a guest or look for one where you and your family can even volunteer. It could result in a whole new tradition.

If your debt levels are making Thanksgiving dinner seem out of reach, Fuller Landau Debt Solutions can help. Our team can assess your financial situation to get rid of your debt once and for all.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 416-927-7200 or visit