How to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget

by Lori. LAST UPDATED ON
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How to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time when you can sit back and appreciate all that you have. However, this can be difficult to do when you’re stressed about how to serve a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner on a tight budget.

Follow this 7-step plan to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget and celebrate what makes you thankful.

1. Plan your meal before you go to the store.

Frugal shoppers will all tell you one of the best ways to save money when you shop for groceries is to plan ahead before you arrive at the store. Make a list of the items you need, and you’re much more likely to stick to that instead of adding unnecessary extras to your cart.

Have a specific budget in mind for your Thanksgiving party, so you can map out all your expenses ahead of time. If you have a general idea of how many people are attending, you can figure out the exact quantities you need before you even enter the store. You can end up saving money by only purchasing what’s on your list.

2. Only buy what you need.

If you’ve followed the first suggestion, you’ve most likely figured out what items are essential for your Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t forget to calculate how many people will be attending (and pad the number in case people bring guests or you end up with a Thanksgiving stray.) PopSugar has a helpful Thanksgiving cheat sheet to help you to figure out how much food you need per person.

Because you’ve planned out your meal, you’ll be able to steer clear of items in the store that seem festive but will end up adding extra costs to your total.

3. Find coupons for the essentials.

To be an expert saver, all you have to do is find coupons for the items you know you need to buy. Grocery stores will be running promotions on popular items all month and with many of them, you can buy them early to maximize your savings. I recommend the Favado site and APP to see what is on sale in your location.

4. Throw a potluck style Thanksgiving party.

Another smart way to save when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is to make it potluck style. Invite everyone to bring one side dish or dessert, and you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank to feed a ton of people. You can be responsible for the turkey (or your favorite main course) and beverages, and you’ll end up cutting costs and lowering your stress level.

This type of party is also a great way to get a taste of your guests’ signature family holiday dishes – resulting in an eclectic dinner that’s more fun and personal for all attendees.

5. Cut down on side dishes

You don’t need to prepare every single side dish. Think about a few that are your must-haves and forget about the rest. Personally, I would rather enjoy two or three sides made well.

6. Borrow serving pieces

If you need platters, chafing dishes, a large coffee pot or other serving pieces you will only use once in awhile, ask friends or family if they have these items that you can borrow. I have also found some great deals at Goodwill at other thrift stores.

7. Keep decorations simple

Fall is an easy time to decorate. You can make a beautiful fall centerpiece using sticks and pinecones in a glass container. Ask the kids to cut out leaves from construction paper to use in your place settings.

Don’t let the cost of Thanksgiving stop you from enjoying time spent with friends and family. Follow these simple steps to have a holiday to remember that’s still within your budget. It’s just one more little thing to be thankful for this year.

Do you have any frugal ideas for hosting Thanksgiving on a budget? Send me a comment to share with the community.



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