You don't need to dish out a ton of money to make Thanksgiving memorable.

By Jen Harwell
Updated October 05, 2020
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Photo by Allrecipes

Let's take a quick rundown of simple ways to plan a Thanksgiving dinner that won't blow up your budget. These 10 money-saving tips will help you keep costs down.

1. Buy Store-Brand Frozen Turkey

Turkey is usually about 40 percent of the cost of the meal. Save money by buying a store-brand frozen turkey (with a coupon) instead of a fresh bird. Be sure to allow enough time to thaw the bird: one day in the fridge for every five pounds.

2. DIY the Basics

Save money by making your own Thanksgiving basics such as breadcrumbs, whipped cream, pie crusts, and chicken stock.

3. Go Big

Potatoes are cheaper by the bag. Can't use a whole bag? Split it with a thrifty-minded pal. Same thing goes for buying butter, eggs, sugar, and flour at big box stores like Costco or Sam's Club. Split the packages with friends and you're sharing the savings.

4. Buy in Bulk

Herbs are cheaper if you buy in bulk bins where you can purchase only the small amounts you need.

5. Seek Out Specials

Look for store coupons and weekly specials, especially during the holidays when retailers are trying to attract you into the stores.

6. Choose Generic Brands

Generic brands are less expensive but just as good as big-name brands.

7. Shop Early

Buy canned cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling and other canned goods the week before Thanksgiving when they typically are on sale.

8. Buy Some Frozen Foods

Like canned goods, frozen ingredients can cost a lot less than fresh.

9. Stick to the List

Go to the store with a shopping list and stick to your list. Impulse buys add up quickly.

10. Share the Cost

Thanksgiving potlucks are a great way to share the big feast (and the cost) with family and friends. It's a win-win all the way around.

Related:

Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.