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20 Thanksgiving Dinner Shortcuts That Save You Time and Money

Posted By peronalfynance40 76 days ago on Finance - I love Thanksgiving Day because it is a time when we stop to thank God for every blessing we have. After the craziness of last year and even into this year, I’m especially grateful for the way God blessed me spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. I turned 40 recently, and now that the second half of my life is starting, I choose to abide more in Christ each day and surrender to whatever it is that He is calling me to do. Another thing I like about Thanksgiving is the amazing food. Like many families, I like to work smart, not hard in the kitchen. I don’t like to be stressed out when preparing Thanksgiving dinner. With that said, here are 20 Thanksgiving dinner shortcuts that save you time and money. 1. Shop For Thanksgiving Staples Throughout The Year At the beginning of each year, write down ideas about what you will prepare for the next Thanksgiving meal then narrow down those to five to six dishes. Then write down all of the ingredients you will need and shop for them throughout the year. This keeps you from having to rush to the stores around the holidays. 2. Make It A Potluck Dinner You don’t have to make all of the meals yourself. If you want to save money and time this Thanksgiving, you can host a potluck at your house. Have your guests bring their most-loved dishes and you can prepare your favorite meals. 3. Don’t Cook Every Meal From Scratch There are certain meals that you’re excellent at making, but then there is your grandma’s apple pie recipe that you struggled to bake for years and it was always a disaster in the end. This year, know your limits and cook only what you’re skilled at. Purchase the other meals at the grocery deli or ask relatives to prepare certain ones for you. 4. Buy Frozen Produce Frozen vegetables cost less than fresh ones, and many stores have sales on them around Thanksgiving. You also save time in the kitchen with frozen produce because it is already cut up for you to use. If you will prepare a few meatless side dishes this Thanksgiving, you want to stock up on these. 5. Borrow Fancy Decor and Housewares Instead of buying pricey decorations and fancy housewares that you’ll only use once a year, why not contact friends and relatives and ask to borrow their fall-themed decorative items? If your aunt is the best decorator in the family, ask if she has extra tablecloths, vases, and wreaths that you can use for a few days. 6. Have Teens and Young Adult Relatives Assist With Cooking If you’re the host of the Thanksgiving meal this year, call all of your teen and young adult relatives and have them come to your home for assistance with cooking and cleaning. This saves you time and you won’t be as stressed out during Thanksgiving week. When your relatives arrive, assign each person a certain task. This is a neat idea if you have a lot of nieces, nephews, cousins, and grandchildren. 7. Purchase Turkey Breasts Another idea would be to purchase turkey breasts instead of a whole turkey. This won’t take long to cook and it works well for those who are not skilled at preparing a whole turkey. If you’re only inviting close friends to your Thanksgiving dinner because your family can’t attend this year, turkey breasts are a great option. 8. Start Preparing Meals Days Ahead of Time You don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving morning or even the day before Thanksgiving to prepare your meals. Start your meal prep at least a week before Thanksgiving so that you won’t have a lot to do on Thanksgiving morning. Some dishes you can make in advance include: Casseroles Cranberry sauce Roasted vegetables Cauliflower with cheese Gravy Pies Mashed potatoes 9. Cut Back On Appetizers and Salads I like appetizers and salads on Thanksgiving Day, but preparing those can be expensive. Save money on your Thanksgiving dinner by cutting back on the appetizers and salads you have. Focus primarily on the main entrees and you’ll save time and money this year. 10. Clean As You Go If you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning while the guests visit, it’s important that you clean as you go. When you do this, you save time and your kitchen will be more organized. 11. Consider No-Bake Desserts For those who are not the best bakers but who want to do more than buy a frozen store-bought pie for Thanksgiving, then create two to three no-bake desserts for your guests. By doing this, you won’t need to waste time and money on dessert recipes that may not come out right after you bake them. 12. Use Time-Saving Kitchen Tools While you don’t want your drawers to be overloaded with unnecessary kitchen gadgets, there are times when it is wise to use certain gadgets to save time while cooking. These tools include a fat separator, kitchen timer, thermometer, jar grippers, fruit or vegetable slicer, garlic peeler, and a crushed ice tray for those delicious drinks. 13. Get Store-Bought Dinner Rolls Another way to save time while preparing Thanksgiving dinner is to purchase store-bought dinner rolls. There are many flavors to choose from, and you can enjoy delicious bread without all the hard work. 14. Use Manufacturers’ Coupons Most newspapers will have a few good manufacturers’ coupons around the holidays, and you can use them to save money on your favorite Thanksgiving foods. Once you get the coupons, organize them into categories and then write down those categories as a shopping list. 15. Have All of Your Ingredients in Place Before you start cooking, it’s important that you have all of your ingredients in one place. This keeps you from having to interrupt the cooking process by looking for the items you need. However, only take out the ingredients for the specific dish you’re cooking at the moment. For example, if you’re making cornbread dressing, you would only have the ingredients for this recipe. 16. Deep Clean The Home A Few Weeks Before Thanksgiving You don’t have to wait until the week of Thanksgiving to do a deep cleaning of your home. This is something you should do at least a few weeks before Thanksgiving so that there is not a lot of cleaning and organization to do as the holiday approaches. 17. Set The Table The Night Before Thanksgiving It helps to set the dinner table the night before Thanksgiving so that you’ll have one less thing to do the next morning. You can also get your spouse and kids to assist you with putting up decorations in the dining room, the front entryway, and the living room. 18. Entertain Guests for Free Another idea would be to entertain the guests at home for free or inexpensively. Take out the board games and have fun with those. Have a dance contest using music from your phone’s music playlist and give small prizes to the top three winners. Play football or basketball outside or sit on the porch and play cards. 19. Prepare A Thanksgiving Breakfast Instead of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, why not serve a Thanksgiving breakfast? Breakfast items tend to be affordable, and if you buy them in bulk, you can save money on your Thanksgiving meal. Some good breakfast meals to serve include pancakes, sausage patties, eggs, waffles, oatmeal, and French toast along with juice and coffee. 20. Make Your Own Chicken Broth Instead of paying for cans of chicken broth, you can make a big pot of your own. Chicken broth will likely be used in many of your Thanksgiving meals, and when you prepare your own, you control the ingredients and you can make as much as you want. The good news is that you can freeze leftover homemade chicken broth. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to feed your family well this Thanksgiving. I recently wrote a post on how you can save money on your groceries, and I use these tips regularly.

The post 20 Thanksgiving Dinner Shortcuts That Save You Time and Money appeared first on Adventures in Frugal Living.

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