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Christmas is a few weeks away but before this big event, there is another special holiday this November that most people celebrate – Thanksgiving. If these holidays and special occasions are stretching your pocket, there are some ways to ease the strain on your budget without giving up the traditional Turkey Day celebration. Allison Miles gathered some tips from experts and shared these in her article.

> Make dinner a potluck

If you are hosting dinner, consider serving the largest portion – the turkey – and let your guests bring the rest of the dishes – dessert, side dishes, etc. After all, the very first Thanksgiving meal was a potluck.

> Modernize your menu

When you are on a tight budget, consider other alternatives to turkey – chicken, maybe – or other excellent dish that will cost less.

> Shop early

There is always that wisdom of being an early bird. Try to buy what you need early as prices tend to go up as the holidays approach. Write down what you need and how much you are prepared to spend so that you don’t overspend.

> Look for the best deals

When you shop early, you have plenty of time to go around and look for more discounts and use your discount coupons, or go to the stores where there are freebies.

> Go for fresh items

Fresh produce is often cheaper than pre-packaged items. Try to use ingredients that are in season — potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach and squash are some examples. Usually in-season items are cheaper.

> Be wise when cooking

Cook from scratch as usually basic ingredients are less expensive than pre-packaged items. A can of pumpkin costs much less than the entire pie. Also, don’t go overboard when cooking. If only a few people are coming over, don’t cook too much food. If there are leftovers, plan on what you can do to make extra meals out of the leftovers.

> If you are traveling, book a flight early.

Airline prices increase as the holidays approach. If you plan to spend Thanksgiving away from home, be sure to buy your tickets and reserve for your hotel accommodation as early as possible.