Money Talks: Smart Spending on Thanksgiving Dinner

For many people, this is where Thanksgiving starts - an expensive trip to the grocery store.

But there are simple ideas you can use to keep costs down your savings up - and still have a meal to remember.

Tip number one: don't go overboard with meat: choose ham or turkey, but there's really no reason to have both.

Tip two? If you choose turkey, pick a bird on the low end of the recommended range, unless you really like leftovers.

In other words, the experts will tell you that you want a pound and a half to two pounds of turkey per person. But if you do two pounds, you're probably going to have leftovers. Also important - the more side dishes you have, the less turkey you're probably going to need.

Also, frozen turkey can sometimes save over fresh: just make sure you've got the 3-5 days it takes to thaw it out.

Tip 3: choose cheaper dishes and deserts. Mashed potatoes cost less than casserole dishes, fresh always cost less than things that are frozen, and pumpkin pies are cheaper than cheesecakes, to make or to buy.

Tip 4: Beverages. If you're serving wine, boxed is half the price, and once you pour it into a nice decanter, who's going to know?

And remember: the least expensive beverages are the kind where you add your own water: coffee, tea and Koolaid. The most expensive are those you don't: soda, fruit juice.

Tip 5: Before you go shopping, go up to customer service, and see if they match advertised prices from other stores. If they do, you can do all your shopping in one place and not miss out on super deals elsewhere.

Final idea? Use coupon search engines: we've got one waiting for you right here at Just go there and do a search for "coupons."

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