Thanksgiving on a budget, Beltway Bargain Mom Laura Harders last-minute coupon tips

The Countdown is on! Your Thanksgiving meal is less than a day away and if you haven’t done your grocery shopping yet, there is hope. Check out our final tips for doing Thanksgiving on a Budget in the last part of’s 3-part series.

D.C.’s Beltway Bargain Mom (Laura Harders) is planning a stress-free, inexpensive and delicious Thanksgiving with her family. For four years now, Laura has been showing readers of her blog how to save big at the market. And on this Thanksgiving Eve, she has some words of wisdom for those braving the grocery store aisles today. What is the ONE thing we should AVOID when looking for bargains?

Laura: Just one? Make a list and stick to it! This will deter you from making impulse purchases and make you sit down in advance to figure out what the best deals are and what is worth buying before ever stepping into the store. Other important things I'd avoid are: shopping while hungry, shopping last-minute, falling for promotional gimmicks that tempt you to buy when prices aren't necessarily rock-bottom. What is your #1 TURKEY DAY shopping tip?

Laura: Plan ahead so you don't have to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day! Some stores will be closed and most will have shortened store hours, plus you'll want to avoid the stress of throwing everything together last-minute, venturing out for one or two key ingredients, and needing to buy items at full price out of necessity.

• Shoppers saved $4.6 billion with coupons in 2011.

• If you’re new to couponing, the holidays are a great time to start because manufacturers offer so many deals this time of year.

• Even with good planning, you might come across some amazing deals once you’re actually inside the grocery store. Be sure to use the calculator on your cell phone to see if the new deal matches up with your couponing strategy.

• If you get an unexpected 2-for-1 deal, consider donating your freebie to an in-store food box. After all, it is the holidays! You’ve taught us a lot in the last three days. Any words of wisdom for next year’s Thankgsiving?

Laura: By focusing on the sale items the few weeks leading up to the holiday and breaking up your Turkey Day shopping into multiple trips to grab the sale items, you'll save time, money and hopefully avoid pre-holiday stress.

For more holiday couponing tips and tricks, be sure to check out Laura Harders blog,

{ }