Holidays are a time for family... and a time when many people worry about the time and expense of cooking. There are actually some very easy ways to save time and money when hosting Thanksgiving dinner!
- Delegate duties. Just because you are hosting Thanksgiving, you do not have to cook everything! Guests are usually happy to bring dishes, especially if they have a favorite or signature dish. Asking selected guests to bring a dish to the meal will cut down on the amount of money and time that you have to spend.
- Buy a bigger turkey. Did you know that butchers at most grocery stores will cut that frozen turkey in half for you? Since larger turkeys are cheaper per pound than smaller ones, this is a great way to share a turkey with a friend or save some for Christmas or New Year's. Again, you're saving money and shopping time.
- Shop early. Buy anything that you can a few weeks in advance. Anything that can be frozen should be made and put in the freezer, to save time later. In addition, you'll want to buy things while they're on sale, and before all the sale items are gone.
- Make your own pies, and freeze them. Homemade pumpkin pies are easy to make (especially if you use frozen pie crust) and much cheaper than store-bought pies. If you make them early and freeze them, you won't have to worry on Thanksgiving Day.
- Cook less. Everyone wants turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, but the other side dishes? You don't need as many as you might think. Most people end up with way too much food -- spend less time and money and make fewer side dishes.
- Use your coupons. Get organized and find coupons for the ingredients you need, shopping early so that you don't have to buy higher-priced items because the store is out of what you want.
- Buy the right amount of food. Many people go to the store without their recipes and end up buying way too much of particular ingredients, just in case. Save money, and bring your recipes. Then you will only buy what you need.
- Don't worry about decorations. Your family and friends who are coming over aren't worried about your holiday decorations. If it is going to stress you or your wallet, skip the decorations! Just put out a few candles or a Thanksgiving centerpiece and the food, and everyone will be happy to be together!
Remember, holidays are a time to be with loved ones, who are more concerned about spending time together than they are about the quantity or cost of food. Be thankful for your time together!