These Are the Fastest Ways to Fill Your Table This Thanksgiving — Without Emptying Your Wallet

Groceries have become a major expense for most families, thanks to surging food prices driven up by post-pandemic inflation. A holiday that entirely revolves around eating a ton of food may not seem very appetizing right now.

The reality, though, is that Thanksgiving is approaching fast. The good news is, if you don’t want to end up in credit card debt due to this celebration, there are a few ways to keep costs down while still making a meal you can be proud of. Here are some checking account-friendly tips that can provide savings anyone will be thankful for.

1. Consider organizing a potluck dinner

The best way to reduce the costs of Thanksgiving is to ask everyone to chip in. If you’re hosting, you can provide the turkey and request others bring sides and desserts. Most of your loved ones will likely be happy to bring along a favorite dish of their own to share.

2. Take advantage of a free turkey

Many grocery stores offer a free turkey if you redeem a certain number of loyalty points. Take a look at the sales flyers in your area to see if stores near you do. If a place near you has this offer, it may be worth switching your grocery shopping to that store in the weeks leading up to the holidays to take advantage of it — even if it’s not your usual preferred place to shop.

And if your favored grocery store offers this deal, be sure to track your points so you can try to qualify. Just don’t overspend in order to get a free turkey. If you’re close to the requisite number of points, buying one or two extra staples to hit the target may make sense — but if you’d have to add tons of extra items to your cart just to get a free bird, that’s not a good idea.

3. Choose budget-friendly recipes

If you want to cook most or all of the meal yourself instead of asking others to bring dishes, you can still choose budget-friendly recipes. There are literally thousands of options online for low-cost Thanksgiving sides including these 14 cheap and easy recipes from (just tell me you don’t want those sausage balls!).

4. Use sales flyers to compare prices

Shopping strategically can also help you reduce costs too, since stores offer their own pricing on holiday staples. Most grocery stores send sales flyers through the mail and you can access them online. Check different stores in your area to see which has the best prices on the items you need and buy when the products are on sale.

Don’t forget to consider places like Costco, Sam’s Club, or Target and Walmart when you’re checking prices. If you aren’t a club member, maybe a friend who is could go with you and help you buy that turkey at a deep discount.

5. Choose boxed or frozen when possible

Boxed stuffing can be far less expensive than making stuffing from scratch. And frozen vegetables, rather than fresh ones, may cost a small fraction of the price and often taste just as good depending on the recipe you’re trying out.

By trying these five tips, hopefully you can avoid spending more than you’re comfortable with while still creating a feast for the whole family.

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