Q: How can I prepare a Thanksgiving feast on a budget?
A: As the cost of food continues to rise, you might be stressed about affording a Thanksgiving dinner. But your stress does not have to go up with food prices. Here are some simple steps for preparing a Thanksgiving feast on a budget.
• Search for coupons! This is one of the simplest ways to save on Thanksgiving foods. Luckily, this time of year there will be lots of them floating around. Don't forget to purchase a Sunday paper for coupons; also look for rebate offers. If you are unsure where to start, check the coupon database at time2saveworkshops.com. It is a cinch to search for an item by name and print any available coupons. Plan your shopping and menu around the coupons you have and see what a difference it makes.
• Start shopping now. You know what you need now, so go buy it ahead of time if possible. If you know you want a turkey, pie fillings, stuffing and canned pumpkin, stock up in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving when these items are on sale. This will also help you avoid last-minute impulse shopping, which always ends badly. Make a list, get shopping now and see how you can save.
• Be a price-matching pro. All of your area stores will be offering traditional Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce, so this is the perfect time to use price-matching. That means you can have one store honor the sale price of another store. Depending on the product, you may be able to use a coupon on top of that. Check with your local grocer for details of the store's price-matching policy so you can take advantage of it.• Keep it simple. Instead of tons of different dishes that your guests likely won't finish, make a few basic dishes that everyone will eat. If you know your family's favorites, stick to those and bypass doing any additional dishes. You don't need to make them and waste the money if no one is going to eat them.
Give these tips a try and you will have plenty of cash left in your pocket — cash that is sure to come in handy this holiday shopping season!