10 tasty tips for a frugal Thanksgiving

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Spend less on your holiday meal.

Americans spent $50.11 on last year's Thanksgiving feast, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. But there are ways to trim down that cost.

Here's how to save money on this year's Thanksgiving meal:

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10 tasty tips for a less expensive Thanksgiving
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10 tasty tips for a less expensive Thanksgiving

Start now.

Begin researching turkey prices – and the costs of other classic Thanksgiving ingredients – now. When you find a great deal on a food that won't expire before the holiday, buy it now to beat the rush.

Make it a potluck.

A more casual Thanksgiving get-together can easily take the form of a cost-efficient potluck, where guests bring their favorite side dishes and desserts and the host provides the turkey.

Just say "yes."

Even if you aren't hosting a full-on potluck, say "yes" to guests' offers to pitch in with dishes or drinks. Accepting help from your invitees can save you money and let your guests show off their cooking skills.

Go generic.

Ignore the food ads bombarding you on TV. Buy the generic or store-brand version of your favorite ingredients to save cash and get the same flavors.

Visit the warehouse clubs.

There's no better time to visit your favorite warehouse club than when you're cooking for a large group of guests. Stock up on your ingredients at Costco, Sam's Club or another bulk-goods outlet.

Pass on pricey decorations.

Ignore the siren's call of that $150 turkey carving platter at the home goods store. Instead, visit the dollar store or even your backyard to collect cheap and festive autumn decor.

Cash in on the sales.

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, supermarkets will begin offering sales on classic fall ingredients to lure customers. Comparison shop between stores and start stocking up on ingredients early.

Get creative with leftovers.

Nearly every leftover dish on the Thanksgiving table can be transformed into another dish later in the week. Use turkey in your weeknight pasta dishes, repurpose cranberry sauce into barbecue sauce or use mashed potatoes in a shepherd's pie.

Transform the turkey.

The Thanksgiving turkey costs roughly $1.44 per pound, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. So, don't forget to squeeze out every inch of flavor from that bird. The turkey carcass can be used to create a tasty poultry stock, which can be frozen and used in soups and other dishes all winter long.

Plan for next year.

As the meal winds down, take notes for next year. What did you make too much of? Did you end up using just a fraction of those pricey pine nuts? Learn from this year's costly mistakes to save big next year.

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Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

More from U.S. News:
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12 Ways to Save Money at Home
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