Thanksgiving is just round the corner and so we are presenting a guide on tips and easy ways to host a thanksgiving dinner without breaking the bank.
1. Host a potluck
Instead of taking up all the stress of cooking on yourself, ask your guests to bring in a dish each. This is one of the best ways to have a great time with friends and family and also save money in the process. Be specific about what each guest should bring in order to avoid confusion and repetition. If you want to do something different-try a progressive dinner approach: each family visits another family for appetizers, then goes on to another family’s for the main course and so on till dessert. This needs coordination but can be a very successful way of having a great time with neighbors. You can also go out to dine and split the bill- one of the least stressful ways of having an awesome time at Thanksgiving.
2. Reduce the quantity of food you cook
Thanksgiving is a time for remembrance and, well, for giving thanks. So the focus should not be only on food as it should be on laughter, fun and having a good time with loved ones. Do cut back on the amount of food you cook- cook several dishes, but in smaller quantities. This is a great way of curbing food wastage and also saving on grocery bills.
3. Shop smart
There are many sales in different stores across the neighborhood and you can buy your favorites for lower prices then. You can also look for coupons or shop for non-perishables in bulk to save even more. You may also consider shopping with friends/family and share the items you buy in wholesale. Always buy in bulk, since bags of apples, corn and potatoes are cheaper in larger packages. Try to start your holiday shopping early on so that you are not forced to buy the more expensive brands in case grocery stores run out of the cheaper brands.
4. Buy store brand turkey
Instead of buying fresh turkey, go for store brand bagged birds which are cheaper. Fresh turkey has longer shelf life but is costlier. You will only need to thaw or defrost the frozen turkey longer.
5. Borrow or rent items instead of buying them
Instead of buying items from regular stores, check out thrifty stores/dollar stores or even yard sales for items. Wherever possible, rent or borrow things from neighbors or friends instead of buying.
6. Plan in advance
Planning a thrifty thanksgiving dinner need not be hard but you must get a head start. Here is a timeline to help you get organized:
- 2 weeks before Thanksgiving– Create a guest list. Call people up and talk about doing a potluck. Write the menu or assign recipes to guests. Buy/order things. Take inventory of your dinnerware.
- 3-5 days before– Make room in the refrigerator. Tidy up and decorate the house. Confirm the number of guests.
- Day before-Roast the turkey in the evening. Finish the place settings. Prepare other dishes and refrigerate or freeze them. Within two hours of roasting, carve the meat of the turkey bones.
- On the day-Have a good breakfast. Finish the side dishes. Designate tasks to family members. Have a great thanksgiving! After dinner, freeze the leftovers.
7. Thrifty decoration tips
Store brought decorations can be very expensive. Get your kids to make decorations with some online help. You can also recycle your older decorations. Fall colored scented candles, and small bowls with flower petals or potpourri look great and are thrifty ideas for decorating the home for Thanksgiving on a budget.
8. If you are traveling
Driving can be a cost effective option, but you may also consider alternatives like the bus or train-they are more comfortable and sometimes you can get great deals. Try to schedule your travel earlier and book months in advance to get the ‘early bird’ discounts. Do not forget to account for other travel expenses like dog boarding, insurance etc.
As stated before, Thanksgiving is a time to get together, give back to the community and also be grateful for all the good things in life. Do not let money be the sole focus of your celebration. We hope you have a great thrifty Thanksgiving!