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Save on Turkey Day entertaining

By Jeff Fruhwirth · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I get to spend time with my family and relax for a few days, which I really enjoy. Unfortunately, that time off doesn't always come cheap. There are many ways to overspend if you're hosting the festivities. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to save.

For example, free-range, organic and farm-raised turkey can cost upward of $10 per pound in some stores. Meanwhile, your basic Butterball turkey costs about 99 cents per pound. Of course, the choice is always yours, but you can save as much as $100 on a turkey by going with the cheaper option per pound. Most turkeys are in the 11 pound to 15 pound range, so the cost of an expensive organic turkey really starts to add up.

Decorations are another memorable thing about the holiday. I'm not much of a decorator, but I help my wife from time to time. It is pretty easy to make all of the table decorations yourself, and you will save a lot of money. You can arrange flowers, table settings and more on your own, and you will find plenty of ideas in magazines and on Pinterest. No matter what your taste is, there is something for you if you want to make your own Thanksgiving table settings or decorations.

You can also host a potluck-style Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite ways to save money on Turkey Day. Back when I was in college, we always had "college Thanksgiving" with all of our friends, mostly because not everyone went home. We'd all bring a dish to share and have about 20 to 25 people enjoy a big Thanksgiving feast before most of the town cleared out for the holiday. Doing this with family members also works well, as it gives each family a stake in the meal and a chance to contribute something. They can try out new recipes or teach their children old family favorites.

Keep your Thanksgiving simple. There are many great recipes out there that would work perfectly. Some use one or two exotic ingredients that can drive up the cost of the dish. Try to find low-cost substitutes for these ingredients. If you can't, consider sticking to the less expensive basics for the holiday season. They still taste great.

Once the meal is finished, save more money by using all of your leftovers. Turkey sandwiches are good, but can get tiresome after a week or so. Ask friends and family for great recipes using Thanksgiving leftovers, or look online. One of my personal favorites is using some of the leftover turkey to make turkey stock and turkey soup. It's a nice departure from the monotony of turkey sandwiches, and it tastes great, too.

These are a few of my favorite tips for saving money while hosting Thanksgiving. What do you do to keep holiday costs low if you're hosting the meal?

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1 Comment
Laura
November 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Turkey enchiladas are great - and are a spicy contrast to the usual fall fare.