For most American families, Thanksgiving dinner is the most anticipated meal of the year.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money when you’re feeding a lot of people a lot of food.

But many families are struggling with ever-increasing food prices. Suddenly, the already-expensive Thanksgiving dinner is getting even more expensive.

So what can you do to make a delicious Thanksgiving meal on a budget? Here are 9 easy-to-implement tips.

1: Stick To A Simple Menu

More dishes mean more money.

If you want to cut back on what you spend, stick to four or five dishes. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable, and cranberry sauce is a good place to start.

And pumpkin pie, of course.

2: Choose Cheap Recipes

Thanksgiving side dishes don’t have to cost a lot of money to taste great. Here are some favorite budget-friendly Thanksgiving recipes:

Applesauce stuffing.

3: Go Potluck-Style

There’s no shame in doing a Thanksgiving potluck: Your friends and family may be eager to make their favorite Thanksgiving side dish – or try a new recipe. Don’t hesitate to make this Thanksgiving a potluck.

4: Shop Sales

Many grocery stores have sales in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Be on the lookout for discounted boxed stuffing, vegetables, frozen foods, canned goods, and Thanksgiving staples.

Shop discounted grocery stores that sell dented cans and almost-expired foods to save money.

5: Make Boxed Stuffing… Better

You can buy boxed stuffing for less than $2.00 a box. 

For just a little more money, you can upgrade your boxed stuffing by adding different ingredients to the mix – like mushrooms, fresh herbs, apples, pears or bacon.

Get 40+ ideas for upgrading boxed stuffing.

How to doctor up boxed stuffing: A few simple tweaks can take boxed stuffing from boring to extraordinary!6: Cut Out The Extras

There’s no way around it: Thanksgiving dinner is going to cost more this year.

Considering the dramatic increase in food prices, you may want to consider cutting out some of the more expensive “extras” such as:

  • Wine
  • Appetizer platters
  • Multiple desserts

7: Make It Homemade

Many grocery stores and restaurants offer ready-made Thanksgiving mains and sides, like ready-to-heat green bean casserole or mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie.

While it’s certainly convenient, it’s not cheap. 

Making homemade Thanksgiving dishes is a much cheaper option.

Shop sales for Thanksgiving dinner. Get more tips to save money this Thanksgiving.

8: Use What You Already Have 

Inventory your fridge, freezer, and pantry before you go to the grocery store.

Avoid buying themed decorations, plates, and tableware. Use what you already have to save money. (Shop after-Thanksgiving sales to find cheap decorations for next year!)

9: Make Great Use Of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Think of Thanksgiving leftovers as an awesome gift to yourself after cooking all day and serving your family.

While eating the same turkey-stuffing-cranberry meal again is an option, don’t be afraid to experiment with some more creative recipes using different Thanksgiving foods:

Leftover mashed potato bar: Mashed potatoes with lots of toppings! Click through for recipes.