Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is Thanksgiving Any Time to Be Frugal?

MoneySaving Mom is running a series about saving money on Thanksgiving dinner. I have mixed feelings about this. At heart, I believe that Thanksgiving is one of those times when we should set aside our desire to scrimp and put out the best spread we can, especially if we are hosting folks who have generously hosted us in the past.

That's not to say that I'm not plotting on how to get the best ingredients for my feast at the best prices. Here's my Thanksgiving menu, so far, and my sources. I'd love to hear your feelings on this topic, too.

centerpiece: free pumpkin, maybe painted by my daughter or opened to become a vase for cut flowers.
hors d'oeuvres: bloody marys, fancy olives, cheese and crackers, cranberry bread, maybe some nuts

pumpkin curry soup
still deciding on a salad -- either a beet salad or a lettuce salad with dried cranberries and walnuts
stuffing (my mother-in-law is bringing her great family recipe which has lots of sausage in it)
sweet potatoes (maybe MoneySavingMom's casserole suggestion?)
make-ahead whipped potatoes*
turkey, gravy
vegetables: either brussels sprouts or green bean casserole or both
pumpkin rolls

dessert: apple pie (by me) and pumpkin pie with whipped cream (brought by mother in law)

The sources:

  • I got the pumpkins for the centerpiece, soup and rolls free outside Dominick's after Halloween.
  • Organic potatoes were $2.50/5 pounds at Jewel after coupon
  • I'll probably get sweet potatoes @ 3 lbs/$1 at Jewel this week
  • will get a frozen turkey for 49 cents a pound, Jewel
  • got the whipped cream for free through the Jewel ConAgra deal this week
  • cranberries for the bread on sale @ Jewel for $2 this week
  • already got the coconut milk for the soup marked down somewhere
  • got frozen green beans and fried onions on sale already, will get Campbell's soup for casserole this week on sale at Jewel
  • got bloody mary mix off clearance rack at Dominick's, already have vodka
  • already got organic apples at Whole Foods for pie
  • will make gravy from the turkey pan
  • Things I will splurge on: fancy olives and cheeses, wine, flowers, nuts, organic brussels sprouts, organic salad ingredients

Incidentally, I also ordered four more place settings to match my Fiestaware at through their closeout sale.

What do you think? It's not a skimpy Thanksgiving, but since I have slowly gathered some of the ingredients as they went on sale, I don't think it will be too cost-prohibitive. Maybe $100 in addition to whatever I've already spent.


*Hippie* said...

Personally, I scrimp and save on "every day" stuff so for parties, family get togethers, holidays, vacations, etc, we can have the money to to NOT cut corners.

babagrlshell said...

One thing I noticed at my local grocery stores, is when a brand name item is on sale at a competitor store, the store brand is on sale *cheap at the other store.
I noticed this a few weeks ago with cream soups- they were on sale at Food Lion and on my list with coupons, and were on sale at Winn Dixie- for less than the brand name with coupon.

Marketing Mommy said...

I could use some more Fiestaware myself. What's LNT charging for shipping?

Carrie said...

MM: Unfortunately, shipping was a whopping $15. But if your color happens to be shamrock, tangerine or turquoise, the 5-piece sets are now down to $17.99. Usually I never see these on sale for under $20.

Team Morris said...

I've been reading MSM's take on Thanksgiving...and personally I just wouldn't do Thanksgiving if I couldn't afford dressing (stuffing) and gravy and green beans and a turkey and pies! I'd do a potluck with friends and family if that were the case. I'm with you...I don't pay retail for what I get for Turkey-Day!!!...but Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two times I show my family how much I care for them by doing and feeding them the very best possible. I work hard for this meal and it shows...and I like that my loved-ones look forward to the spread every year. I just scrimp the rest of the year and budget for Thanksgiving so we don't blow it. I just won't be made to feel guilty for feeding my family well this day.

Anonymous said...

i couldn't agree more....holidays should stand out from the everyday doings...ESPECIALLY...the food!!! great food and family and friends around you...the whole Norman Rockwell thing. there's frugal and then there's down right miserly when it comes to money.