How to Save Money on Thanksgiving Shopping

how to save money on thanksgiving shopping

Written by Blossom

November 22, 2015

how to save money on thanksgiving shopping

I never understood why some of my colleagues are so revved up about Black Friday. I mean, it’s great for common expensive utilities like a new microwave or a new laptop—things you actually need—but when they go out of their way to get the cheapest deals on Kalvin Klein or Uggs or other nonsense, I’m just like…

How do you have money for all of that when you’ve got student loans?

But Jesus said “Thou Shalt Not Judge” so that’s the end of that.

And on the same note, I am actually not free from the holiday-spending-syndrome. This is my first year in college and my family has been struh-guh-ling (not because I’m in college, my mother lies) and I feel bad that I’m here with full course meals (even when it’s loaded with bugs) and electricity and water while they are just managing. So I’m giving them a taste of paradise and doing most of the cooking and shopping this Thanksgiving.

But let’s get one thing straight: I’m in college, I don’t like spending money, I’m broke. This brings me back to the question:

How do you have money for all of that when you’ve got student loans?

So after Pinterest, blogs, blogs, and more Pinterest, I think I’ve got enough info to share my game plan on How to Save Money on Thanksgiving Shopping…

  1.    Find out what you want to cook.

My family normally stuffs our guts with jollof and turkey on Thanksgiving day, but I want to try something different, and thankfully Pinterest came to the rescue.

However it did make me barf. Read more on how Pinterest Overwhelms Me.

I definitely advise you look for recipes if you (or your family) is tired of your old ones or think they just require too much time and willpower. When I was peering through every food-blogger’s website, I was on the lookout for recipes with the least amount of ingredients because ain’t nobody got time fuh 20+ ingredients.

  1.    Jot down all the ingredients you need vs what you have.

Now that you have the recipe, go through each ingredient used in all recipes (you can skip things like water). Make sure the ingredient isn’t alien to you and that you know that it exists in your country (because Kefalotyr sure doesn’t). I used an excel sheet to write down the ingredients and then color coded to distinguish between recipes. I made an excel sheet template before writing this so you can either use that or follow along and make a similar one…although I worked really hard on this gosh darn template so you wouldn’t have to….

  1.    Go through the weekly ads of the local grocery store.

Warning: Viewer discretion advised. You may feel inclined to buy something just because it is on sale. Please note spending money is not saving money. Proceed with caution.

This is one of my favorite parts. You can either go to that store to pick up their ad (which I don’t advise because that’s wasting gas) or you can find them online. And then you can CHEAT and find blessed bloggers that post the next weekly ad days in advance! Back when I was researching last week, this was very useful, but now that Thanksgiving is this coming week, it doesn’t really matter. And plus lots of stores are starting their Christmas phase this week anyways.

Walmart Weekly Ads: http://www.walmart.com/store/100/weekly-ads

The HOOKUP blogs (the ones that post in advance)

Target Fanatic

Publix upcoming ad blog 

All you literally have to do is google (Your Favorite Dirt Cheep Store)’s weekly ads/upcoming weekly ad.

Or you can download this neat app: Favido. You can add stores and it’ll compile all the sales they’re having in one app, and you just pick and choose which sale you want on your to-do list. Once you’ve found the on-sale item in the store, you can gracefully check it off. Talk about productivity! 

Once you find an ingredient you need in that ad, circle it. Then, make a new column labeled Store’s Sale and add to your excel sheet or just download the template here and stop wasting time! Be sure to jot down what type of sale they’re advertising.  I made a PRICE column too just for organizational sake.

  1.    Look for more coupons.

This was the hardest part for me. Before doing so, check to see the store’s coupon policy because some (like Aldi’s) do not accept certain coupons.

There are a few coupon database websites like  Coupons.com but they do not have a search feature so you may feel even more obliged to buy random nonsense just because you have a coupon for it. Instead, try ones like Redplum.com OR try these:

You can also get e-coupons from your favorite store’s app. With the Walmart App, I can take a picture of my receipt and if Walmart finds a cheaper deal, I’ll get money back. I’m EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL about this but I’m going to try it out and let you guys know how everything goes.

Once you find the coupons, go BACK to that spreadsheet. If you found a coupon for an ingredient on your list, write down all important info regarding the coupon (is it from an app or did you print it, is it a buy one get one, how many of the items do you have to buy, how much money does it take off, etc).  

  1.    On shopping day, get in and get out.

It’s like the Black Friday but for food. Print out your spread sheet, plan which stores are closest and go to those stores first, then solely stick to your ingredients list and your apps.

Sometimes saving money means wasting time. And if you’re not comfortable with that, then by all means spend! Couponing is no joke and it really isn’t for everyone. If you do decide to make an attempt and save for Thanksgiving, your wallet and your family will thank you. Now that you’ve saved on food, you can spoil people more with extravagant Christmas gifts!

(Little do they know, this Thanksgiving dinner is my family’s Christmas gift).

I’m super pumped for shopping, and I’ll definitely let you guys in on what worked and what didn’t. Do you prepare for Thanksgiving? Have you had any luck couponing or using apps to save? WHAT APP DO I NEED TO DOWNLOAD?

Speaking of download, here’s the template again. (If you don’t have a dropbox, just click “no thanks, continue viewing”) This template can also be used for any type of grocery shopping! It’s super customizable and you should download it because I poured my soul into it.

Thanks for making it to the end!


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