Tuesday, November 17, 2009

10 Easy Ways to Save Money this Thanksgiving

With the holiday season just around the corner, millions of taxpayers are looking for ways to save money this Thanksgiving. Between travel expenses, food and supplies for a huge dinner, and other expenses, the total costs for “Turkey Day” can add up quickly. To help my readers have a fun-filled Thanksgiving without breaking the budget, I have put together the following list of ways to save money this year.

1. Be the Early Bird

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for your family and friends then you can benefit greatly from planning your meal and purchasing supplies as early as possible. This way you can be on the look out for discounts on non-perishable products. You can also avoid the huge crowds of last minute shoppers.

2. Request RSVP's

While having some extra turkey and stuffing leftover to make sandwiches can be fun, having TOO many leftovers because of no-shows is basically like throwing money in the trash. By asking your guests to RSVP ahead of time you can get a better estimate of how much food you should buy.

3. Coupon Clip

Food companies know that people buy extra food around Thanksgiving and often print especially good coupons. Even if you are not the “coupon type,” you might be surprised to learn how much you can save this Thanksgiving just by using a handful of coupons. You should also be on the look out for groceries that offer discounts on holiday related products.

4. The Thanksgiving Turkey

The Thanksgiving turkey can easily become one of your biggest expenses, depending on the size of the bird you select. Frozen turkeys are usually a little cheaper, but can take longer to prepare due to the necessary defrost time. Also, be on the look out for stores that offer specials on turkeys. Many will even give you a turkey for spending a certain amount of money. If you can plan it so that you purchase all of your supplies in one trip then you may be able to get a free turkey.

5. Do NOT go Overboard

Although it can be easy to get carried away and create a lavish meal with dozens of sides and desserts, do you really need to? Odds are that most of this extra food will go uneaten and find it’s way to the trashcan. Instead, limit the number of dishes you create and focus your attention on the Turkey.

6. Discount Decor

Another easy way to drain your bank account is by going overboard with decorations. However, there are several ways that you can decorate your Thanksgiving table for little or nothing. Try using dried leaves and pinecones to create a season centerpiece. If you do not have any trees with pretty enough leaves, then you could make them out of orange and brown colored paper.

7. Drink Decisions

There are so many yummy fall beverages that it can be hard to choose between them, and you can very quickly spent too much. Save money by making your own eggnog and cider at home. Search for easy recopies online, and be sure to read the reviews to make sure that they come with good recommendations.

8. Perhaps a Potluck?

If hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner seems like too much, then you can always suggest a potluck to your friends and family. Everyone loves a potluck, and it can save you a decent amount of money if you are supposed to host the dinner. It will also allow you to focus your attention on other tasks, like creating festive decorations.

9. Traveling Tips

If you are traveling for the holiday, then the sooner you book your flight the better. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest traveling day of the year, which usually results in huge crowds and delayed flights. In addition to buying your tickets early, you could also try arriving a day or two early to avoid the day before Thanksgiving ticket mark ups. If you have enough time, you could even try driving to your destination.

10. Have a Heart

One of the easiest ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner is not to have one. By replacing your family’s meal with something cheap and donating the turkey and fixings to a local charity you can get into the holiday spirit and get a valuable tax deduction. Just be sure to keep your grocery receipt, and make sure you are donating to a qualified charity.

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