How to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget
By Erin Konrad
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 stressing about how to afford throwing a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner on a tight budget.
Don’t let the holidays make you go broke. Follow this 4-step recipe to save money this holiday 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.)
Because you’ve planned out your meal, you’ll be able to steer clear of items in the store that seem fun but will end up adding extra costs to your total. You probably don’t need three types of stuffing when just one will do. For decorations, that cute turkey centerpiece might scream “Martha Stewart,” but you’re more likely to go over budget if you buy too many extras.
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. You can find great deals at Target on essentials for your table (like dinnerware, linens, and decor.)
One way to find savings on groceries is to shop online at Vons or Safeway. Vons offers many promotions like a free turkey when you spend over $200 or free shipping. You can even find discounts and search the web for coupons for the items you need. Plus, you don’t have to spend extra time at the store since you can easily search their site for what’s on your list, and have it delivered to your door. FYI: Vons delivers to most major cities and suburbs, and you can check to see if your town is one of them by typing in your zip code on the Vons homepage.
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 bird (or your favorite main course) and beverages, and you’ll end up cutting costs and lowering your stress levels.
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. If you need ideas on how to throw a Thanksgiving potluck, head to SignUp Genius. The site can help you email invites and let people sign up for what they want to bring.
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.
Thank you to Erin for your guest post today. Do you have any frugal ideas for hosting Thanksgiving on a budget? Send me a comment to share with the community.