A memorable Thanksgiving doesn’t have to break the bank.

It’s November already, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you’re like me, you will be hosting your family this year. I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but if I don’t watch it, the expenses quickly add up.

Here are some tips for a frugal, relaxed, and memorable Thanksgiving.

Plan Ahead

The time to start shopping for Thanksgiving dinner is now. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, you’ll be seeing sales and coupons for many traditional Thanksgiving foods. Clip those coupons and match them with sales to get the best deals.

And when it comes to buying a Turkey, plan to buy it when you do your weekly grocery shopping. Most grocery stores run specials where you can get an inexpensive turkey, if you spend $50 or more. It’s a great deal, if you’re already doing your weekly shopping. It’s not a great deal, if you buy $50 worth of stuff you don’t need, just to get the deal on the turkey.

By spending a little bit of money each week leading up to Thanksgiving, you won’t be hit with the huge Thanksgiving grocery bill at the end of the month.

Focus on Relationships

Good food on Thanksgiving is an important part of the day, but try to make your focus on enjoying each other’s company. Participate in traditions that build your family and your relationships, yet don’t cost a lot of money.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is our Thanksgiving journal. Each year, everyone who attends our Thanksgiving dinner has to write down what they’re thankful for in our journal. It’s fun to look back and remember the things we were Thankful for in years past. And in the future, our children will be able to enjoy the written thoughts of their grandparents.

Other frugal, yet meaningful traditions are going around the table and telling everyone what you’re thankful for or having everyone sign the Thanksgiving tablecloth in permanent ink. These traditions will provide memories that last far beyond Thanksgiving leftovers.

Prepare Your Meal in Advance

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but I don’t like to miss out on all the visiting that takes place on Thanksgiving day. My solution is to make as much ahead of time as possible. The night before Thanksgiving, my meal is pretty much all prepared and in casserole dishes in the refrigerator.

On Thanksgiving day, I cook the turkey, and then warm up the side dishes as the turkey is resting and being carved.

Some great make-ahead recipes are:

With a little planning, you can have a frugal Thanksgiving that you’ll remember fondly for many years to come.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?