Don’t Let Thanksgiving Gobble Up Your Budget

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, overeat, and enjoy family– but it isn’t cheap. In 2020, the American Farm Bureau estimated Thanksgiving dinner was the cheapest it’s been in 35 years. Unfortunately, due to supply chain woes and lower food production during an ongoing pandemic, our 2021 holiday meal could be the most expensive ever. Luckily, there are simple ways to save money without sacrificing seasonal favorites.

Make a list.

It’s easy to overspend when you guesstimate. The first list you should make is of the people who plan to come. Don’t just assume. Send an informal text or give a quick phone call for confirmation. Of course, you’ll need to make a grocery list and stick with it, but not before you revise your menu.

Simplify side dishes.

Southeast Dairy Association - stuffing

Turkey may get labeled as the king of Thanksgiving, but every Thanksgiving lover knows it’s the infinite side dishes that everyone anticipates. One of the easiest ways to save money is to cook fewer dishes. Set a boundary on side dishes: two vegetables, two starches, and two desserts. A 9×13 pan typically yields 8 medium-sized servings. Go a step further and simplify ingredient-heavy casseroles. Looking at whole food side options, you’ll decrease your budget and increase your nutrition intake. Give this microwave yellow squash casserole or wholesome sausage stuffing recipe a try. Roast fall vegetables or serve whole green beans and steamed sweet potatoes over the loaded casserole.

Don’t forget the dairy.

In every glass, milk products have an unparalleled nutrient package with 13 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. At just about 25 cents per cup, it offers a nutritional bargain at an affordable price that you can’t pass up. Offer a cheese board as a starter, swap mayo for plain Greek yogurt in recipes, and give the kids a dessert that will provide nutrition and fun: hot chocolate dip!

Incorporate these tips to keep Turkey Day 2021 from gobbling up your family budget.

Using print, TV, and the radio, Rebecca Turner translates the complex world of nutrition into understandable, and achievable concepts. Purchase her books Mind Over Fork and Enjoy Good Health on Amazon. Weekdays, she hosts Good Things with Rebecca Turner on SuperTalk Mississippi. Connect with her online at

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