Keep your finances in the black this Thanksgiving weekend new

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and many people start their holiday by serving a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and end it by shopping. In fact, the day after Thanksgiving is commonly known as “Black Friday,” meaning the day retailers go from being unprofitable (in the “red”) to profitable (in the “black”).

Unfortunately, a costly Thanksgiving weekend means less money left over for the weeks ahead. Like most expenses, there are quite a few ways to keep costs down, and as usual, the most important one is to plan ahead. To help trim the fat from your Thanksgiving weekend budget, consider the following tips.

Start with a thrifty and tasteful meal. Start the holiday off on the right foot by keeping Thanksgiving meal costs in check. Consider making your meal pot-luck. If you must prepare everything yourself, serve inexpensive foods such as turkey, chicken, and fish. Keep your eyes open for coupons and specials at nearby grocery stores. Also, avoid expensive name brands where it really won’t make a difference.

Develop a plan. If you do plan to shop, you’ll need a plan. First, figure out who’s on your gift list and determine how much you plan to spend for each person. To prevent the urge to overspend, consider using cash and leave your credit cards at home. Realize that the holidays involve many more expenses than just gifts. In fact, studies show that consumers budget more than $500 for non-gift expenses such as travel, entertaining, and decorations.

Consider cyber-shopping. If you can’t resist the urge to shop, try shopping online. You will save a lot of time and comparison shopping is a breeze. Warning! Most online purchases are made with a credit card so be sure to monitor your spending.

Think outside the mall. Use your time to decorate for the holidays or address holiday cards. Even better, start the season off right by giving your time to the less fortunate. Consider serving meals to the homeless, or paying a visit to a local nursing home, hospital or animal shelter. Don’t forget to make time for what might be some much needed exercise.

Lastly, remember that holiday memories should last a lifetime, so make sure all the feelings are positive.

Thrifty Quick Tip:
If you shop on Black Friday, only take along the cash you budgeted to spend (just be sure to always keep an eye on your purse or wallet!)

For more ideas, download our free Thrifty Thanksgiving eBook.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.