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Low cost options for Thanksgiving meals on a budget

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family, friends and, yes, food.

Although spending time with family and giving thanks is at the heart of Thanksgiving, the holiday can sometimes come with a heavy price tag.

This Thanksgiving, each American is estimated to spend an average of $165.17.

Collectively, Americans are estimated to spend $2.8 billion this November on food for this holiday alone.

Here is a list of six Thanksgiving tips to make footing the bill cost less:

  1. Opt for chicken, not turkey. Chicken, on average, costs less than the traditional turkey. Chicken can be seasoned and cooked the same way as a turkey, making the flavor similar while at the same time reducing the amount of cook time necessary.
  1. Make the basics, don’t buy them. Items like breadcrumbs, cranberry sauce, marshmallow delight and stuffing can all be bought in the store, but preparing these Thanksgiving day hallmarks at home can drastically reduce the build up of cost small items like these can have.
  1. Buy generic brands. Most generic brands cost less than commercial brands and taste just as good. Generic canned items can especially help trim the fat from your budget.
  1. Stay on campus. For FGCU students who didn’t travel home for the holiday, FGCU will be holding adjusted dining hours. SoVi will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Einstein Bagels will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  1. Go to Mel’s Diner. For students who are not staying on campus or who are looking for more variety in their Thanksgiving meals should go to Mel’s Diner, which has five locations in Naples. Mel’s Diner is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is selling entrées for $14.00 throughout the day.
  1. Host a potluck/Friendsgiving. Invite friends to bring different parts of the Thanksgiving meal so that the cost is evenly distributed. Not only does this lower the bill for everyone who comes but also it also makes for some invaluable time spent with friends.

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