Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fitting Thanksgiving into the budget

A few weeks ago, I worked up my menu for Thanksgiving, now I need to figure out how to do it all without breaking the budget. Like most families this year, my food budget has gotten much tighter. I've cut back a lot, but I'm trying not to be forced to drastically change our holiday menu. I've been trying to pick up a few things I will need each time I go shopping. Now that there are less than two weeks left before Thanksgiving, I need to get serious & make LISTS of what I've got & what things I still need. I also need to designate a few things that others can contribute to the meal. Anybody invited for Thanksgiving always offers to bring something. This year, I will be asking my daughter in law to bring a veggie tray and my Mom to make the pickle & olive tray. Anyone else who comes can bring an appetizer or extra pie of their choosing.

First, I "go shopping" in my pantry, refrigerator and spice cabinet. Next I check the sale papers & online specials for the three chain grocery stores in my area. I make it a rule not to drive more than 5 miles out of my way.

In the pantry I have:
canned cranberry sauce
canned sweet potatoes
miniature marshmallows
brown sugar
white sugar
flour for bread & pie crusts
shortening for pie crusts
vegetable oil
canned peaches for spiced peaches
french cut green beans
corn meal
canned pumpkin puree
canned evaporated milk

In the refrigerator I have:
4 lbs of butter (on sale last week for $2 per lb)
2 dozen eggs
10 lb spiral ham (on sale last week for $2 per lb)
can of whipped cream
bulk sausage
1lb of bacon
jar of yeast

In the spice cabinet I have:
cinnamon (lots & lots & lots of cinnamon)
poultry seasoning
whole cloves (for spiced peaches & the ham)
ground cloves
all spice

Grocery list:
Turkey (saw it on sale for .79 per lb)
4 loaves day old bread
2 gallons milk
2 lbs whole cranberries
2 lbs fresh sweet potatoes
10 lbs potatoes
2 lbs celery
3 lbs yellow onions
10 lbs apples
3 lbs frozen peaches (for pie)
2 cans cherry pie filling

Our tentative menu
Roasted turkey
Honey glazed ham
white bread stuffing
cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes
giblet gravy
baked sweet potatoes
candied sweet potatoes w/marshmallows
sweet & sour green beans
canned cranberry sauce
homemade whole cranberry sauce
spiced peaches
veggie tray
pickle & olive tray
homemade bread rolls
2 homemade deep dish apple pies
2 homemade pumpkin pies
cherry pie
peach pie

The only thing I cut from the original menu was corn on the cob. I will be buying the turkey in the next few days. Frozen is always cheaper here, so I need to have enough time for it to defrost in the refrigerator. I will wait on everything else until about 2 days before. I'll also keep my list handy in case I think of anything that I've missed. I HATE being in the middle of preparing a big holiday meal & suddenly realizing that I'm missing an essential ingredient. By spreading out the purchase of the most expensive items and buying ingredients over the course of a month, I've been able to accumulate just about everything necessary. I've also come up with a plan to try to get everything on the table at the same time. I'm looking forward to having a GREAT holiday dinner with my family.