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Seasonal Produce and Creative Leftover Dishes Make for a Less Costly Thanksgiving

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Rochester: Seasonal Produce and Creative Leftover Dishes Make for a Less Costly Thanksgiving
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No matter who you're cooking for this Thanksgiving, there are plenty of ways to save and still whip up a great meal. Tara Lynn Wagner filed this report.

When it comes to hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, there are plenty of ways to trim the cost while still serving a meal with all the trimmings. Since the turkey alone can gobble up a good chunk of your budget, shop circulars for the best price.

"Some grocery stores will actually price match your turkey. So if you are doing the bulk of your grocery shopping at one store but the turkey’s a little bit more than a competitor, ask for a price match! And there are coupons for turkeys," said Jeanette Pavini, a Savings Expert at Coupons.com.

Small crowd? Consider picking up just a turkey breast: less meat, less money, less waste.

From the star of the meal to the supporting cast, food blogger Alexis Kornblum says when it comes to sides, shop seasonally.

"So if you stick with things that are in season like butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, cranberries through the holiday season you’ll get more bang for your buck," said Kornblum.

It's not just seasonal produce that will save you money. Grocery stores know what you need for your holiday menu and often will put those items on sale.

"If you stock up on the items that are on sale, like canned pumpkin, that you know you will use throughout the season for parties, for your holidays, then you will save money there," Kornblum said.

Now that you've stocked your kitchen, avoid wasting food and money by making the most of your ingredients.

"Make bread pudding, or you could freeze bread and make bread crumbs," Pavini said.

"You're already cooking, so throw an extra set of the chicken dish or an extra set of soup in the pot. So making two, freezing one," said Kornblum.

Of course, eat those leftovers—and I'm not just talking turkey sandwiches for days.

"You can actually use what you had as a side dish—Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and bacon, and all of that—and turn it into a breakfast hash so you can stretch out that side dish," said Kornblum.

There are also savings strategies that work year round. Look for coupons, sign up for your store's loyalty program, choose store brands over name brands, and use a credit card that offers the most rewards for grocery shopping.

Finally, if you're sharing a meal, there's no shame in asking your guests to share in the menu by bringing their favorite dish.

"You could even make it something kind of fun, like when you bring your favorite dish put the recipe on little cards and we’ll pass them out to everyone. Like make it a fun thing," said Pavini.

Your wallet will thank you for it.

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