Two Weeks Until Thanksgiving: Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. Offers 6 Tips to Cut Costs and Stress

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The majority of the 16.7 million American households are gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving -- the money experts at Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. offer 6 insightful tips to cut stress and costs this holiday season.

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Howard Dvorkin, CPA, founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc.

To help people get through the holidays this year, we have devised a list of tips for how to have the best Thanksgiving within budget.

Serving a 2011 Thanksgiving meal could cost you more than ever. The American Farm Bureau reported that the price of the average holiday meal was up 11 percent last year. Prices have continued to climb an average of 10.5 percent for many grocery staples, including potatoes, milk, flour, apples, and oil.

Nearly 25 percent of Thanksgiving food is wasted due to lack of planning. “At Consolidated Credit, we speak with hundreds of Americans each New Year who realize that they didn’t plan well for the holidays and it leads to money problems and credit card debt. To help people get through the holidays this year, we have devised a list of tips for how to have the best Thanksgiving within budget,” said Howard Dvorkin, founder of the credit counseling agency Consolidated Credit and author of Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt.

Consolidated Credit offers a list of 6 costs cutting tips:

1. Budget, plan, and stick to it! – Shopping last minute causes overspending and may create overwhelming anxiety. Rather than dealing with limited options and mobs of people at the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving, the experts at Consolidated Credit advise people to get all Thanksgiving food and supplies at least one week prior.

2. Estimate realistic portion sizes - By picking reasonable plate sizes and cooking proportionate dishes, everyone will be able to eat their favorite foods without tipping the scale. Preparing less food will reduce waste and cut down the grocery bill!

3. Shop sales – Don’t waste gas or time looking for small discounts. Sign-up for email alerts or newsletters from grocery stores or coupon sites to find discounts and sales for Thanksgiving expenses.

4. keeps family and friends in the know – To better maintain communication about holiday activities, especially with family members in other states, create an electronic invitation via and send it to all members participating in Thanksgiving festivities. People can post their RSVP, recipes, food allergies, and fun ideas to make the holiday extra special. is free and allows everyone to stay “in the know” about Thanksgiving plans.

5. DIY – The latest trend taking over this holiday season is ‘do it yourself’ decorating. Instead of spending money on expensive retail decorations look in the back yard or visit a dollar or craft store and make Thanksgiving inspired decorations.

6. Have a Potluck – Spread out the cooking and expenses by having each guest make one dish. This will allow everyone to share costs and eliminates one person from overspending and shouldering all of the work.

For more holiday season tips, visit Consolidated Credit’s personal finance blog

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc., founded in 1993, is one of the nation's largest credit counseling organizations in the country and has helped over 5 million people with financial issues. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling.

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