Monday, November 22, 2010
Thanksgiving on a budget
It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again. The holidays are officially upon us, and with the stagnate economy and abysmal unemployment rate, people across all socio-economic classes will be looking for ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in a joyful yet penny-wise way. Having volunteered to host Thanksgiving for my family of 20 + people last year, that unfortunately never came to fruition. A brutal case of the flu forced an emergency change of venue and left me literally home alone watching “Home Alone” on Thanksgiving.
Prior to my getting sick however, I was very excited to host my first Thanksgiving dinner and did a lot of planning and prep-work, in fact, with the benefit of hindsight I feel as though I might have done too much. I wanted everything to be perfect, neglecting the cost involved with hosting such an event, and forgetting the notion that the food was merely an excuse to bring everyone together. Focus on the people you are celebrating with rather than the presentation of the celebration itself. Here are some helpful hints to enjoy turkey day without it gobbling up your wallet.
1. Before you start shopping take a good inventory of what you already have. More often than not you may have some key staple ingredients in your kitchen pantry. There’s nothing more wasteful than doubling up on items you seldom use, that eventually will have to be thrown away.
2. Ask for help! Don’t take everything on yourself; ask your guest and family members to bring their favorite dishes. Most people are more than willing to bring something to the table so to speak. It makes them feel like they contributed to the event in someway other than just showing up, and people also enjoy seeing other people react to the dish that they brought. Even asking someone to bring items that do not need to be cooked or prepared such as beverages and ice, plastic cups and utensils or even extra chairs or other things that can alleviate some of the stress from the person doing the hosting.
3. The turkey is the centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal; however, the turkey can also be the most expensive part of your Thanksgiving meal. As Thanksgiving draws near, you should be able to find several grocery stores offering great deals on their turkeys – some stores even offer free turkeys if you purchase a certain amount of groceries from their store. While their minimum limits may be around the $100 mark, it will be no problem for the average family to spend that amount at their local grocery store over the course of the weeks and days leading up to Thanksgiving.
4. Before you head out to the grocery store armed with your shopping lists, don’t forget to hit your coupon sources for extra coupons that can help you to save a significant amount of money. Check out the circular flyers that your local stores send out in the mail so that you can have an idea as to which store currently has the best deals on the things that you plan on purchasing.
For great deals on your fresh produce, consider a visit to your local farmers market; not only will you be able to get great fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can often purchase them for much less than you could purchase the same products in your grocery stores.
5. Enjoy the collective effort! When all is said and done, do not lose focus on what the event symbolizes. Take the time to literally give thanks for all the blessings that surround you. In these tough economic times, it can be easy to over emphasize the bad and overlook all the good. Take solace in the little things and the fact that you are enjoying good food in the company of people that love and care for you. And most of all save your leftovers! A little creativity can keep you fed for many days after Thanksgiving!
*** To anyone who might be reading this post, I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for your loyalty and continued support, there might not be too many of you out there, but I for one have always been about quality over quantity***