There’s literally no time left. It’s now or never.
Step up, Chef. Get ready to host your Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.
Thanksgiving dinner (and even Christmas dinner for that matter!) can definitely end up being a nail-biting event if you happen to be the host.
As if being a host wasn’t enough, you still got to manage finances for Christmas gifts, making it more exasperating.
Don’t worry, take a deep breath and chill out. We’re going to teach you how to host Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. Read on for these few tips which can come in handy.
1. Plan your Thanksgiving Strategy
Got tonnes of thoughts in your mind? You’re hosting the fanciest Thanksgiving dinner on a budget in your head. But on paper, it’s anything but perfect.
No, I don’t mean to call your Thanksgiving strategy a failure. But before going through the tips there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:
- What’s on the menu?
- How many people are on the Thanksgiving dinner guest-list?
- What’s the Thanksgiving dinner theme? There better be a theme!
- Are there enough plates and glasses or you need a crockery to revamp?
- Take the one-man army route or go Potlucky?
- Are there enough kids at the table to make a kids-centric menu?
Write down answers to these questions on a piece of paper. Make a few changes in the menu if you want to. Your Thanksgiving dinner on a budget shall be successful if you follow the strategy you just made.
You probably won’t feel like you’re saving much with each small choice—but those small choices add up and can really shave dollars off your final bill.
Your Thanksgiving on a budget doesn’t start at the table; it begins well in advance, especially when you shop. If you shop at the right place, you will surely save big money.
Personally, when it comes to Thanksgiving shopping for ingredients, Walmart is where I go. Be it in-store or online, Walmart offers the best food ingredients that are of pretty good quality, the price tag is neat too.
Some of the year’s best grocery deals are on at Walmart. Nearly everything you need for your holiday meals will be on sale. Whether you are looking for turkey, canned pumpkin, frozen pies, stuffing mix, potatoes, yams, etc. Check it out!
3. Coupons will save you
When it comes to Thanksgiving, coupons are hot property. Websites like Swagbucks offer you coupons that get you free turkeys! Whether you shop online or in-store, coupon websites can save big and you can get free stuff.
If you shop from Walmart, then you can sign up for Ebates. Offering an instant $10 Walmart gift card, Ebates presents you with mind-boggling coupon codes that can bag serious discounts.
If you are already done with Thanksgiving shopping and didn’t use any coupons, download Paribus and scan your receipts to get instant refunds in case you overpaid for stuff.
4. Decorate Naturally
When it comes to decorations, don’t spend any money on that unnecessary expense. You plan to have a Thanksgiving dinner on a budget, and that budget shouldn’t be spent on decorations.
This Thanksgiving, go natural and see the difference, bring your family close to nature by decorating your home with small plants, tree branches, pinecones, etc.
If you really want to spend money on décor, visit AliExpress and find elegant decorations that don’t dent your budget. It is a fantastic place to find cheap Thanksgiving decorations.
5. Cook what they’ll eat
Firstly, cook the food yourself. Not only does that bring out true Thanksgiving spirit, but your Thanksgiving dinner will also surely be on a budget if you cook it yourself.
As for the menu, don’t make mashed potatoes if nobody likes them, same goes for greens. A large precooked turkey costs $40; same goes for store-bought pies, which easily cost $5.
Homemade alternatives will cost a fraction of the price and you’ll be praised for the efforts you made. Also, finalize those recipes which have a limited number of ingredients to cut costs shorter.
6. Share the burden
You can be a hero and try to cook all of Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, or you can be a frugal chef and tell your guests to join you in preparations. Potlucks are fun and make sure that Thanksgiving dinner on a budget is successful.
You can decide who brings what, just divide the dishes systematically. It’s best to delegate the appetizers and side dishes. Drinks burn a big hole in our pocket, so try to offload the booze on someone else.
7. Shop for the right Turkey
Stick to Turkey and skip Ham, chicken, or any other type of meat. Turkey is heavily discounted at this time of the year, making it a dead cheap meal option.
Turkey might be cheap around Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for the first one you eye for. Stores offer deals on the turkey to compete for consumer dollars, so compare prices and offers on various stores before you shop.
8. Don’t serve Booze (yourself)
You can either skip the bottle of vodka or you can delegate the duty to guests. Alcohol is not Thanksgiving 101 and if we want Thanksgiving dinner on a budget, booze should be the initial sacrifice because it’s expensive.
There’s no shame in skipping the expensive alcohol and soda and opting for cheap and healthy beverage options like iced tea, coffee, lemonade. But if you really wish to serve wine then ask your local wine shop for recommendations under $10 a bottle.
This is one of the only times when you can bring your whole family together so try and boost the spirit of dining in together and talking rather than indulging more in partying spirit.
9. Prepare your Dinner in Advance
Who needs 15 side dishes? Pick your priority foods (the absolute must-haves to complete your Thanksgiving tradition) and simply make less and in advance.
Choose those things in the menu which you can prepare in advance and deep freeze them for dinner day, this will reduce your to-do list on Thanksgiving day and you’ll be able to spend more time with family.
10. Stick to your Shopping List
Don’t get allured by all the fancy stocked up items and hide away your impulse buying decisions, in order to do so write out a menu and budget and stick to them. That is why I prefer shopping online.
Take your Thanksgiving list along on your regular shopping trips for the month of November and try to pick up non-perishable items during store sales which start from the end of October itself.
Thanksgiving isn’t about a fancy meal or expensive décor (at least it wasn’t for those pilgrims who started it). It’s about being grateful for family, friends, and all the wonderful things we have in our lives.
So don’t sweat it if your family uses generic paper napkins or drinks a five dollar bottle of wine, the love you put into your Thanksgiving meal is far more important than the cost.
Wishing you a merry Thanksgiving from EBC! Not a good day for your pants!