Save or Splurge? 11 Questions to Plan Thanksgiving Dinner

The holiday season is here — and with it comes the food. Lots and lots of food.

Turkey and cranberry sauce to baked ham and mashed potatoes to beef tenderloin and sweet potato casserole. So much food.

With all those dietary delights and nightmares, comes many a decision. While some people might think about calories — which is all well and good and sensible — others might approach this holiday dinner season from a budget viewpoint.

How are you going to pay for all this food? And, better yet, where can you pick your culinary battles, so to speak? Where does it make sense to be budget conscious? Where should you spend more and live a little?

Many home cooks could use some help this year looking for ways to save on time and money — and when it’s OK to spend extra — with inflation and turkey prices as high as ever.

That’s where we want to help.

Save vs. Splurge: 11 Questions to Help Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner

1. Is Anyone Actually Going to Eat the Cranberry Sauce?

Is there a more polarizing Thanksgiving food than cranberry sauce? You hate it or you love it. Some prefer it homemade. Others just can’t get enough of the canned jiggly sauce.

In fact, Ocean Spray produces 70 million cans of cranberry sauce, using about 200 cranberries in each can, according to Food & Wine magazine.It’s their most popular product by far.

So, assuming you want it on your dinner table, what to do with this controversial food?


A 14-ounce can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce costs $1.76 at Walmart and contains six servings — or more. (Does anyone even eat a full serving?) Whether you’re feeding only six or you’re feeding a crowd of 18 — three cans for a total of $5.28 — that’s really cheap.


This Bon Appetit writer compared the cost of homemade cranberry sauce versus simply buying a can. Homemade costs more than twice as much. She said the canned version costs her $1.26 per cup, while buying fresh and making her own sauce costs…

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