9 Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

by Elizabeth Lang on 24 November 2015 (0 comments)

This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content is not provided by the advertiser and any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain. Please visit our Advertiser Disclosure to view our partners, and for additional details.

This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Please visit ourAdvertiser Disclosure to view our partners, and for additional details.

Have you volunteered to host your family's Thanksgiving meal this year, but don't want to break the bank? Or do you love that Thanksgiving brings your family together for a shared meal, but don't love how expensive it can get? Between all the holiday entertaining, your wallet definitely feels the pinch. On the upside, if you use the right credit card, you can accumulate rewards points to get something back for all that spending. I use the Amex EveryDay Credit Card, which bonuses you 20% extra Membership Rewards points after making 20 or more purchases in a billing period  — all for no annual fee!

Here's how I use my card to save money along with other ways to save this Thanksgiving season.

1. Using Points for Purchases

When you're shopping for the big meal, remember to use your rewards Amex EveryDay to pay at the grocery store because getting cash back at the grocery store is always a treat. You earn 2x the points at U.S. grocery stores and 1x for every dollar you spend. There are lots of flexible ways to use the Card’s rewards points. For example, you can use Membership Rewards on the Membership Rewards site to book travel or get gift cards from popular stores like the Gap, Home Depot, and Saks Fifth Avenue. There are even options for you to use the points to pay for your purchases on Amazon.com, book Uber rides, or simply pay off your existing Amex charges.

2. Craft DIY Centerpieces

Thanksgiving centerpieces can get pricey quickly (plus they often end up getting moved off the table to make room for the food.) Make your own centerpiece and keep it simple. Start with fall leaves — red or yellow maple leaves are perfect. Clip a few small branches with leaves attached and stick them in a vase or old wine bottle. Or buy squash and pumpkins (a variety of colors and shapes is best) at your local farmer's' market or grocery store, then arrange them along the middle of your table.

3. Shop Secondhand

If you want a fancy tablecloth, festive cloth napkins, or decorations beyond a centerpiece, start looking now. Resale shops and estate sales are great places to find linens and decorations at bargain prices.

4. Rethink Tradition

Resist the urge to make grandma's Jello mystery casserole just because you've always made it. If there's a dish that goes mostly uneaten every Thanksgiving, pass on it this year. Cut down on waste and expense, and keep the menu simple and focused on food that everyone (or at least almost everyone) will eat. You'll save time and money.

5. Roast a Thanksgiving… Chicken?

Turkeys are a lot of work. If you buy frozen, you have to defrost it for a day or two. Then you have to stuff it, if that's your style, and cook it for three to six hours, depending on the size. Not to mention the hefty price tag and the constant basting. Why not try a chicken or two for your group? They're smaller, cheaper, quicker, and just as delicious. Plan on at least ½ pound per person, plus more if you want leftovers.

6. Plan Ahead

As is the case in so many situations, planning ahead will save you money on your Thanksgiving meal prep. Map out your menu and list of ingredients far in advance. In the weeks leading up to your celebration, look out for coupons and specials that will save you money. Think about whether there are dishes you can make ahead and freeze if you get a good deal on certain ingredients. These plans will save you not only money, but stress in the days leading up to the big meal.

7. Delegate the Deliciousness

Just because you're hosting doesn't mean you have to do all of the cooking. Invite your friends and family to bring a favorite side dish or dessert. People enjoy pitching in and sharing their own Thanksgiving traditions. You might even find a new favorite dish. Plus, delegating means you won't have to spend as much money on ingredients and time in the kitchen.

8. Buy Wine Early

Wine is the one Thanksgiving meal ingredient that only gets better with age. Plan ahead on this one and you can save a lot of money. Start watching for sales now and stock up when you see a good price.

9. Relax and Enjoy

While taking a deep breath won't save you money, it will help you enjoy spending these Thanksgiving #EveryDayMoments with your friends and family. Don't fret the small stuff. Something is bound to go wrong, especially if you're hosting, but it's unlikely that anyone will remember in a year. And if they do, it will be a good story!

How do you save money on Thanksgiving?

I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. As such, I was paid for my services, but tips and opinions shared about and American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.

Average: 3.1 (15 votes)
Your rating: None