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Getting the family together for Thanksgiving dinner can be expensive.  Between the additional guests and expanded menu, it’s easy to bust your budget.  The good news is we have some money-saving tips that won’t require you to cut your guest list.

Stick to what you know

As much as you may want to impress your guests, Thanksgiving is not the time to test out fancy new recipes.  Not only will you be embarrassed if it doesn’t turn out right, you’ll also be throwing away money.  Keep your menu simple and stick to dishes you already know your family enjoys.

Shop early

Once you decide on a menu, create a detailed list of ingredients you’ll need along with the quantities.  Be sure to take stock of what’s already in your pantry so you don’t waste money buying things you don’t need.  It’s not uncommon for holiday shoppers to clear the shelves during the last-minute rush so start shopping early.  Bring your list along with any coupons you can find so you stay focused.  Don’t be afraid to give generic brands a try.  The food will taste just as good and the price will be easier on your wallet.

Find free turkey promotions

Why pay for a turkey when you can get one for free?  Starting in early November, many supermarkets start running free turkey promotions.  The best part is you won’t even have to jump through hoops to get it.  Just spend the required minimum within the specified dates and you’ll get your free bird.  The exact rules vary per store so check your local circular for details.

Ask guests to pitch in

Not everyone enjoys spending countless hours in the kitchen.  Take some of the weight off your shoulders by asking your guests to pitch in.  If you know someone is a pro at making a certain dish, ask them to whip up a batch for the party.  Be sure to keep track of what each family member plans to bring so you’re not stuck with multiple versions of the same dish.  For guests who aren’t confident in their cooking skills, ask them to pick up a dessert or supply the drinks instead.