Thanksgiving is a big-scale holiday that brings to mind the word “plentiful” in many ways: a gathering of many people, extensive preparation and plenty of food. However, this often also means big expenses and unfortunately, a lot of food going to waste after the big feast. Don’t let this happen to you this year – use these quick, simple tips to maximize your Thanksgiving spending:
- Think ahead about what to do with leftovers: Some Thanksgiving leftovers, especially turkey, can spoil early if they are simply left in the fridge. Instead, know what you will do with them before you start cooking the Thanksgiving meal so you can get to preparing them right after. Quick, easy Thanksgiving leftovers recipes can be found from Food Network’s website, allrecipes.com, or a simple online search.
- Split between made-from-scratch and canned ingredients: Some traditional Thanksgiving dishes cost less to make, like turkey, mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes), pie crust and general fresh vegetables (not already chopped and prepared). Meanwhile, you can save both time and money buying some ingredients ready-made, like stuffing, gravy (can varieties offer better taste than dry mixes) and cranberry sauce.
- Make use of the season’s natural offerings: Make fresh, cheap dishes from seasonal produce, and skimp the decoration costs by using common garden finds this season instead, like pine cones, colored leaves and dry fall fruits or vegetables.
- Delegate: As with any social gathering, you can help yourself and your guests save money and time by having each person bring a dish. Even asking for help only with dessert can take a big load off your responsibility – and budget – while your guests are likely happy to contribute.
- Maximize the oven and the dishwasher: Reduce energy cost by utilizing the oven for several dishes at the same time, and making sure your dishwasher is full before each load.
- Use smaller, china plates: With plenty of offerings, it’s common for us, children or adults, to take more than we can eat at Thanksgiving meals. Avoid the food going to waste by using smaller plates to size down the portions – seconds are always welcomed, anyway! On another note, while it usually saves to use disposable plates, china works better for the big number of guests and dishes at Thanksgiving.
What other tips do you use to save and maximize on Thanksgiving?