BY CHERIE LOWE
The turkey, the potatoes, the stuffing … your shopping list contains all of the most valuable players when it comes to spreading a feast before your family.
These key components help you prepare the classic recipes your grandmother made and her mother made before her.
However, before you pull your cart up to the checkout kiosk and then trot your wares to the car, take a beat. You may be forgetting three items certain to help you save money in an unconventional manner this holiday season. You may have inadvertently placed a few unnecessary items in your cart, too. Keep reading to know what you need and what you don’t.
A deli pizza
Thoughts of Thanksgiving probably don’t conjure cravings for a piping hot pizza. However, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving marks one of the busiest days of the year for pizza delivery. Whether you’re too tired to cook or too deep into preparations and cleaning, phoning it in becomes a literal trap for your budget.
Instead of ordering delivery, find a deli pizza in the grocery store. Most grocers offer large pizzas for less than $10 and sometimes even less than $5. You’ll be able to feed the family without the restaurant pizza price tag and avoid delivery fees and tipping, too.
Do a quick cabinet flyover before you head to the store and make sure you have enough dishes to contain your bountiful excess. Fixing a large meal means you can live off the leftovers for days. But if you don’t have the reusable plasticware and/or plastic bags to store the food, it’s going to go to waste. Don’t let the lovely bird and fancy fixings end up in the trash can. Make sure you have enough options to both refrigerate and freeze the extras to keep your family fed for days and maybe even weeks.
During Thanksgiving, our entire focus centers on the food. But hosting friends and family in our homes means a bit of tidying, too. You don’t need to purchase the entire cleaner aisle at your nearest big box retailer, but you probably do want to pick up key essentials. Don’t forget to grab an extra package of toilet paper, too. Nobody wants to run out of that with a house full of guests.
Giant roasting pans or cookers
Tucked near the turkeys and cranberry sauce, you’ll more than likely glance an enormous roasting cooker set. Or you may spy a sterno cooking system. Unless you plan on starting a catering career, most of these items should be skipped. While helpful when feeding a herd, it’s unlikely these appliances and kitchenwares will see much use throughout the rest of the year.
Instead of making a major investment, opt for recyclable roasting pans. If you really feel the need to purchase a roaster, see if you can borrow one from a friend or family member this year who’s not using theirs. Don’t just test its cooking capacities; see if you have enough room to store the appliance when it’s not in use.
Folding tables, chairs
My grandparents had the coolest “card table” ever. And they really used it to play cards upon occasion, setting it up under the carport on warm summer evenings. A fierce game of euchre unfolded until the bug zapper started doing its electrical dance while the mosquitos began to take a bite out of the fun.
Unless you really plan on playing cards, purchasing a folding table and chairs to be used only once a year probably isn’t a sound investment. Borrow chairs from the neighbors or have those in attendance bring portable chairs they might have. You don’t necessarily need fancy place settings to enjoy a meal of gratitude. Make what you already have work and save your pennies for now.
P.S. if you really want to pick up a table and chairs, wait until they go on clearance at the end of the year.
Boxed dessert mixes, pumpkin spice snacks
I am a woman who appreciates convenience. As long as it saves money, I love finding ways to cut corners to effectively use my time.
However, you may have noticed beginning in September many stores featuring an entire section of pumpkin spice snacks and treats. From cereals to pancake mix, from cookies to popcorn, nearly every type of imaginable product floods the shelves. I even saw an ad for pumpkin spice toothpaste this year. No thank you.
While it’s totally fine to purchase a pie from the bakery, it’s better to skip the gimmicky boxed dessert mixes and prepackaged snacks. Cooking from scratch saves more money in the long run. Go homemade and leave the prefab treats at the store.
I love the Thanksgiving holiday. So pull out your stretchy pants and strap on your apron. Baste the turkey and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while you put the finishing touches on a meal to remember. Whisper prayers of gratitude and say thank you to someone.
All the while, be prepared to buy only the things you truly need and skip the items you don’t.
Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to email@example.com