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Smart Grocery Hacks for Your Thanksgiving Shopping List

Nov 10, 2017

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate traditions with family, but it can also be stressful and costly to prepare a feast for all to enjoy. Check out these grocery hacks for your Thanksgiving shopping list to put together a delicious, traditional meal on a budget.

Four Ways to Cut Costs on Your Thanksgiving Shopping List

Create a budget and stick to it

Create a budget for your Thanksgiving shopping list that is realistic for how many guests you’ll serve, and allocate a dollar amount per item to ensure you don’t spend extra money once you’re in the store. When writing out your list, prioritize necessary items like turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing and skip over anything that may be add-ons. Plan for unexpected costs by adding wiggle room in your budget, but try your best to stick to your list. Factor into your budget any coupons from the local Sunday paper for the best deals at your neighborhood grocery stores.
Use the PFCU home budget calculator to find out how much money you can dedicate to a Thanksgiving budget and still meet your financial goals.

Develop a plan of attack

Last-minute grocery shopping during the days or nights leading up to Thanksgiving can result in empty shelves, crowded lines and more money spent at the store than anticipated. Bring your Thanksgiving shopping list with you to the grocery store throughout November to take advantage of store sales, purchase popular items as early as possible and buy in bulk to stretch your dollar further.
Seasonal items to purchase before the late-November rush include:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Spices (ground cinnamon, nutmeg and sage)
  • Pumpkin puree
  • A turkey baster

Keep it homemade

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast takes time, effort and money, but avoid buying pre-made dishes at the grocery store to cut corners. Buying prepackaged items will add up quickly and throw off your budget. Rather than grabbing an apple pie from the bakery if you’re short on resources, enlist the help of family members. Whether you’re hosting two or 25 guests for the holiday, ask each family member or friend to bring an appetizer, dessert or even a main dish. A group effort will allow you to share costs and stay within budget.

Skip the extras

There’s nothing like a Thanksgiving feast to bring family together. The memories shared and traditions built are the most important part of the holiday. With that in mind, make sure you don’t go overboard on unnecessary expenses. Extra purchases like alcohol or festive decorations won’t make or break your celebration, and cutting these out of your Thanksgiving shopping list will keep you in line with your budget.
Heading into the holiday season can be overwhelming and weigh down your wallet, but with a little bit of preparation and smart shopping, you’ll be sure to save money this year. Remember to develop a budget, plan ahead to beat busy lines, prepare a homemade feast with the help of family and friends and avoid purchasing unnecessary items to cut costs on your Thanksgiving shopping list.

Check out our limited-time, Personal Loan Sale to make your holidays happier!


Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
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