As much as I love Thanksgiving I'm the first to admit that it's not exactly cheap. If you make seven side dishes, three pies and a giant turkey, it's no wonder that the cost can rise. But the more you do Thanksgiving, the more you learn, and although I might have gotten a nice penny out the first time, I've been able to figure out how to keep things cheap on the way.
If you want to host Thanksgiving on a budget Beth Moncel, creator of Budget Bytes tells the SELF that there are many easy ways to keep costs down. For example, you do not necessarily have to buy a whole turkey if you play your cards right! Here are her tips on saving money and some of my favorite budgets that I've learned in my own years as the host of Thanksgiving.
Do not be afraid to start shopping in time.
When it comes to buying ingredients for Thanksgiving, there's nothing too early. I do not mean to buy sweet potatoes or other fresh products months before buying (which is just stupid), I mean to buy durable products as soon as you find out that they are for sale. For example, if you see a two-on-one promotion for pumpkin puree in September, take advantage of the deal and save the cans until the day in November when you actually need to use them.  2. Speaking of promotions, in the weeks before Thanksgiving there will be a lot more.
By the end of October through Thanksgiving, supermarkets will offer many promotions everywhere. Moncel recommends subscribing to an app for collecting flyer articles such as Flipp as it allows you to compare prices and discounts in your region's supermarkets by looking at just your phone.
According to Moncel, these are also shops offering packages, which means you often get free by-products when buying a turkey. At the grocery store I bought in Brooklyn, members could even have a free turkey if they spent enough on other products in November. I never bought enough to get the free turkey, but that's because I've always bought enough food to feed myself. On the other hand, if I had bought for a budget, I could imagine that I would have received the free turkey in no time.
. 3 Before you even go to the store, make a thorough inventory of your pantry to get Thanksgiving-friendly ingredients you may already have.
I have many long-lasting ingredients that I once used for Thanksgiving and then completely forgotten. Instead of letting these things die in my pantry, I always go through what I already have to do to make sure I do not make unnecessary purchases. It saves me money and space in the pantry, and I do not have to feel bad when I buy an ingredient that I thought I would use only once.
. 4 Seasonal products are cheaper and delicious.
"Fresh seasonal produce such as potatoes, celery, carrots, cranberries, apples and squash are more affordable at this time of year and do not need much to dress them up in beautiful, simple and elegant Thanksgiving dinner dishes," explains Moncel. Fortunately (ha), most of the classic dishes that you would find on a Thanksgiving dining table rely heavily on these ingredients, making it relatively feasible to make the food relatively cheap.
. 5 Some pre-made products can save you time and money.
To save time, effort and money, Moncel says retail-ready, pre-made products can sometimes be lifesaving. For example, fresh homemade bread rolls are delicious, but they can last all day, which is not ideal if you already spend a lot of time with the other food. In this case, ready-made dinners that are both cheap and ready to use may be the better option for you. "If you want to cook several dishes in one day, it is not wrong to buy one or two pre-made items," she says.
. 6 Save specialty ingredients for smaller settings.
"Honestly, most simple Thanksgiving classics are very cheap," says Moncel. "They only get expensive when you add them to cream sauces, nuts, cheese, bacon, sausage, or specialties like pomegranates." Basically, their simple recommendation is to make Thanksgiving on a budget. "But do not worry," she adds, "everything that's produced during the season will make your party full of color, flavor and texture – anything but boring."
. 7 Regardless of what they've told you, you do not have to make a full turkey – hell, you do not even have to make turkey!
To be perfectly honest, turkey is usually not the star of the table. Even if you're preparing it, it's still the most boring and driest bird in the poultry family, if you ask me. That's why my Thanksgiving presenter and I started thinking about other options. At first, we considered frying a chicken, and although we've changed our plans, it's still not a bad idea. Chicken is tastier, cheaper and easier to cook – it takes about a quarter of a Thanksgiving-sized turkey time. While one hen is not enough to feed a crowd, you could even roast two chickens, and it would still be cheaper than a twenty-pound turkey.
I understand why turkey is served on Thanksgiving – it's a showpiece! But you do not need the full bird to make an extravagant ad. Moncel says that you can just buy parts of the turkey (like the breasts or the legs) and plating as usual. That way, you do not have to carve what can be a hot mess, especially if you've never done it (and in my case, if you've done it often). In addition, buying only the parts is much cheaper than buying a whole bird. "Many grocers sell bone bones or leg quarters as an alternative to whole turkeys at this time of year," says Moncel.
. 8 Ask your guests to bring or bring along, even if it's just a bottle of wine. This really leads to significant savings.
While I usually take care of the Thanksgiving food, I have my friends who take care of all the alcohol. It disappoints me from part of the menu and it saves me a lot of money because alcohol is definitely not cheap.
. 9 Or turn the whole thing into a potluck.
"The best way to budget Thanksgiving is to involve everyone," says Moncel. "If you share the burden of cooking with all your participants, everyone can sit back and enjoy the day, making it more affordable for everyone." She also says it's a great way to get different foods because you never know what someone will bring.
10th Boil just as much as you and your guests need – you do not have to aim for leftovers.
"It's worth noting that you do not have to go big or go home for Thanksgiving," explains Moncel. "There is nothing wrong with preparing just the right amount of food for your guests." While Remains and Thanksgiving can go hand in hand, in the end it will be cheaper for you to reduce the amount of food you prepare. "If it helps you stay within your budget or reduce food waste, then you should rethink the amount of food prepared for Thanksgiving."
If you put all these tips into action, you'll find that you have no means to spend a fortune to throw a feast.