6 Saving Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

a family gathered around the table sharing a meal together

It’s time to gear up for Turkey Day! With the ongoing surge in food prices, we’ve created your go-to manual for Thanksgiving savings, ensuring your feast is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. From selecting the right food brands to maximizing the potential of your rewards checking account, we’ve got you covered. Here are 6 expert-recommended tips to help you save on Thanksgiving without sacrificing the joy of the season.

1. Have a potluck

Alright, let's talk strategy for Thanksgiving. While some hosts take on the entire feast alone, it's not always the best move, especially with escalating food costs. One of the easiest ways to save on Thanksgiving is by having a potluck. You tackle the main dish, and your guests can bring the sides and desserts.

And the silver lining? It spreads the cost across everyone, saves time in the kitchen, and lets you enjoy quality time with your guests. It also ensures every member—including those with food sensitivities—has a seat at the table.

As the commanding officer, take the lead. Make a list and have everyone sign up for different dishes. This way, you won't miss any essentials or end up with three kinds of salad and no pie!

2. Buy store brands

Shoppers are often tempted to choose the flashy brands (you know, the ones you’ve seen on commercials). According to Consumer Reports, generic products are 20-25% cheaper than their name-brand counterparts. Therefore, whether you’re tackling your whole list or just the basics, go generic. Salt is salt, no matter the label, so why pay extra on a brand?

3. Shop at multiple grocery stores

After making a list of ingredients, take the time to compare prices at your top three supermarkets. During the holidays, these grocery stores compete to attract shoppers with discounts and special deals. Your mission? Secure the best deals! Start by scoping out the weekly ads (most start on Sundays). Keep in mind that no single store offers the cheapest prices for all your Thanksgiving needs. For instance, you might find green beans for 15% off in one store and 30% off wine at another. By carefully comparing prices, you can end up with major savings.

4. Pay attention to sales and coupons

Thanksgiving can be pricey, but with the right approach, you can save big. Think of holiday food shopping like Black Friday—plan ahead and hunt for sales and discounts. From cranberry sauce to pie crust, grocery stores will have leading up to the big day.

You can take your Thanksgiving dinner budget further by using coupons and savings apps. Look for coupons in your local newspaper or online through various websites. Store newsletters also frequently contain exclusive coupons and discounts, so sign up for those! Finally, keep an eye on social media for deals from stores and brands. You might be surprised how many great deals you can uncover.

6. Have a plan for leftovers

Leftovers can be a game-changer after Thanksgiving, but figuring out what to do with them is the most important part. Don't waste them; plan ahead and be strategic with different foods. Cranberries can be baked into muffins, scones, or bread, and turkey is perfect for chilis, soups, casseroles, and sandwiches. And if you have more leftovers than your fridge can handle, try freezing your food for future meals. Smart use of leftovers means significant savings in the days after Thanksgiving.

6. Use your Access Rewards Checking account

And for an extra layer of strategy, consider using your Armed Forces Bank Access Rewards Checking account for these purchases. It's not just a checking account; it's your gateway to money-saving discounts at your go-to retail spots, complete with instant access to mobile coupons. Taking your Thanksgiving shopping digital? The $hopping RewardsTM feature opens up a world of exclusive offers and discounts at thousands of leading online retailers. Simply shop online using our customized shopping portal and watch the cash back roll in. It's the smart way to stretch your Thanksgiving budget even further!

The bottom line

Navigating Thanksgiving on a budget requires planning, but the results are worth it. As the holiday season approaches, keep in mind that a well-prepared Thanksgiving not only minimizes stress but also safeguards your finances, leaving your bank account merry and bright. Mission accomplished. Have a wonderful Turkey Day!

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