There’s no need to break the bank for one day of celebrating. Your family and friends will be glad to see you and that’s what matters most. Before you make your shopping list, consider these tricks that will save you a few bucks here and there.
- Don’t buy special spice mixes; make them yourself with what you already have. The treasured pumpkin pie mix is mostly cinnamon with nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice added to taste. Seasoned salt is simply onion, garlic and chili powders, paprika, parsley, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cajun, Italian and curry mixes are all comprised of spices that may already be in your cupboards, too (something a simple online search will reveal). Added bonus: by making mixes yourself, you get to fully customize them.
- Eat seasonally—it tends to cost less. Items typically in season somewhere in North American during the early winter months include: apples, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, celery, chard, carrots, chestnuts, cranberries, oranges, pears, persimmon, pomegranate, potatoes, rutabaga, winter squash, turnips and yams. Use this list to inspire new recipes and to refine your grocery list.
- Save recyclable containers for leftovers instead of purchasing new storage containers. Folks’ kitchen drawers tend to have enough of them anyway, and it’s a great way to repurpose those items you’d otherwise toss in the recycling bin. Yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, pre-sliced deli meat, hummus—anything you buy in a plastic, resealing container, can be washed and given a new job. Guests will appreciate being able to take leftovers home.
- Make homemade stuffing. Preserve those ends of bread loaves that are steadily rejected, or the remainder of baguette you didn’t finish in a large, freezer-safe storage bag. Come the end of November, you’ll have enough bread trimmings to make stuffing for the entire block. Simply thaw, chop, cook and delight.
- Craft your own decorations this year. Let nature inspire you to make your own runners, wreaths and centerpieces. If there are little ones in your life, they may be more than happy to help. Brainstorm ideas to spice up the day that don’t revolve around food, drinks or other things you’d need to purchase. Play board games you already have, go around the table and say what you’re thankful for or watch a beloved family movie.