Although economists are saying that the recession has ended, most people are still feeling the pain of this recession and with Thanksgiving around the corner (for our Canadian readers) some are wondering how to make the most out of it.  A memorable Thanksgiving doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips for a frugal, relaxed, and memorable Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving Dinner

1. Plan Ahead

Although this maybe late for our Canadian readers, the best time to start shopping for Thanksgiving dinner is the weeks leading up to it. A few weeks before Thanksgiving you will see sales and coupons for many traditional Thanksgiving dinner items. When you see them just clip them and make the purchases along with your weekly shopping.

2. Avoid Convenience Foods

Convenience foods such as prepackaged items can cost you much more than if you were to make foods from scratch. Avoiding these convenience foods can save you a lot of money on your Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Buy Just Enough

Often we buy much more than we can eat, buying too much turkey only to throw it out later isn’t very frugal. Buy just enough to do the job and save! Not sure how much is enough? You can use the turkey calculator to calculate exactly how much you should buy.

4. Use Leftovers for Future Meals

Even if you try to just buy enough, chances are you will still have leftovers. If you do, don’t just throw them away, use it for future meals. Use the leftover vegetables and mix them together to use in soups, you can freeze the left over turkey for future meals as well.

5. Have a Pot Luck Style Dinner

Some may not like this idea, but for me Thanksgiving dinner is about the company and not so much about the food. So if you are hosting the dinner this year see if you can do a potluck dinner, you can assign everyone a dish while you make the turkey. This will not only save everyone money but also time and hassle.

Thanksgiving does not have to be expensive or stressful, just keep things simple and plan ahead. Enjoy your company and spend some time reflecting on things you are thankful for!


What are your frugal Thanksgiving ideas? Any interesting family traditions you would like to share?



Ray is an ex-financial adviser and the founder of Financial Highway. Currently working in the financial industry and working towards completing his Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, designation.