Keeping holiday meals under $50

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Whether you’re the chef slaving in the kitchen at home, or you’re the couch potato who gets to watch Thursday football until it’s time to eat, the standards are always set high for Thanksgiving dinner.

There’s no doubt that a homemade meal tops a store bought meal any day, so why not save a few bucks in the process?

The average household spends about $49.41 to serve a family of ten, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Here are some tips to make sure your dinner for ten stays under that amount:

Have a plan. Have a menu for the dinner ready so you know exactly what to purchase at the grocery store.

Compare store-ads and take advantage of coupons and weekly specials, especially on turkeys.

Buy a frozen store-brand turkey over a fresh bird.

Take a friend with you to a store that sells in bulk, such as Costco, and split the cost of the bulk items. Share the savings on items like potatoes, eggs, sugar and flour.

Purchase store or generic brand items over the brand-name items. They are as good and the savings from the price difference will add up at checkout. At Target you can get cream of mushroom soup for $0.79 a can.

Items often used only in the holiday season like pumpkin filling and cranberry sauce usually go on sale the week before Thanksgiving, so purchase those ahead of time.

Potlucks are in! Never think a potluck is tacky. Instead of labeling the dinner as a potluck, simply ask your guests to bring their favorite side dish, to acompany the frugal yet delicious main course that you are providing them.

Maybe you’re not feeling like Julia Child this Thanksgiving and would rather spend the holi- day relaxing and saving energy for midnight bar- gaining. Local restaurants are offering traditional Thanksgiving meals for take out without spend- ing hours preparing and cooking at home.

Mimi’s Café Holiday Feast To-Go: Serves 6-8 people for only $89.99. This traditional Thanks- giving meal features a whole roasted turkey, corn- bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, fresh steamed vegetables, cranberry rel- ish, carrot raisin nut bread and a whole pumpkin pie. Mimi’s Café is located on the corner of Pacific Ave. and Robinhood Dr.

Market Tavern: The Market is providing a personalized menu for take out Thanksgiving dinners. In their store and on their website is an order form where different starters, entrees and desserts can be chosen to create the perfect holiday meal to eat at home. Prices are on the menu. Market Tavern is located in Lincoln Center on Pacific Ave.

Salisbury’s Deli and Grill:
Serves 10-12 people for $149.99. The feast includes a stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, soft bread rolls and pumpkin pie. Salisbury’s Deli is located in Lodi on E. Vine Street.