Thanksgiving is coming, and with it a feeding frenzy in most families as they get together for the holiday.

Thanksgiving’s main focus has become the food, with many people arranging more and more elaborate meals each year.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. You can have a great meal without breaking the bank. It’s just a case of being organized. Plan your meal, set your budget, then think of ways to shop smart. Here are some suggestions.

Make the Most of Harvest Time

The autumn is when food is most abundant, and therefore cheaper. Buy pumpkins, potatoes and more at their lowest prices of the season. Store in a cool, dry place.

Plan to Cook from Scratch

Buying convenience foods like frozen pumpkin pie will save a lot of time, but at nearly $7, you might do better to buy your own flour and shortening for the crust and make your own pumpkin puree for the filling. Head off to a local farm or farmer’s market. You can paint the pumpkins for Halloween (not carve, or they will spoil) and then cook them for Thanksgiving, getting double-duty out of this cheerful orange fruit.

Some people pay the supermarket or a restaurant to cater for them, but this can add up to a substantial amount per head and you won’t have the variety you would through cooking cheap and easy side dishes to stretch your budget and round out the meal.

Clip Coupons

Be sure to clip coupons online and from the Sunday circulars. You can spread out the cost of your Thanksgiving too if you shop for several weeks in the run-up to the holiday.

Shop the Stores for Loss Leaders

Check out your supermarket and chain drugstore flyers every week. They will usually have several items on sale for a substantial discount. These are known as loss leaders and are a lure designed to get people into the store. If you can be disciplined enough to shop for the loss leaders only at each store, you can save a good deal of money.

Warehouse clubs like Costco and BJs sell large family-sized food, drinks, paper products and so on for a substantial discount over what you would pay in the supermarket.

Buy at a Farmer’s Market

Their prices are usually cheaper and the produce is fresher. The food won’t have travelled thousands of miles and wonít be doused in pesticides either. Plus, the money you spend will remain local, not disappear off to corporate headquarters. You will help keep the local farmers in business each year.

Buy a Farm Share

This is a handy way for farmers to stay in business and you get the fresh food you need. A farm share for a set price entitles you to a box of produce each month. Check which months the box covers and what you will get each month. Boxes for October and November might have pumpkins, various types of squash, potatoes and so on.

Compare Prices

This will help you get the best deals on all the things you need.

Make a List and Follow It So You Don’t Drive Too Much
Lots of short car trips because you forgot something will cost gas, as well as wear and tear on the car and on you. Focus on your list whenever you go to the store to make sure you don’t forget any essentials. Follow these simple tips and see how much money you can save.