“He, who thanks with the lips, Thanks but in part…
The full, true Thanksgiving comes from the heart!”
The day of Thanksgiving is officially close enough- time for you to pull out the big meat cleaver and mandolin, start spice-shopping and get ready for the toughest 12 hours in the kitchen. Oh, while you’re at it, carve a sliver of your hard earned money too!
Yes, we’re all in for festive spirit, but pulling off Thanksgiving on a budget is exhilarating. On an average, every American household spends at least $200 on Thanksgiving dinner. Now that’s a fat chunk of your hard earned money served on a plate!
Let’s face it- you want to host Thanksgiving on a budget and you have no idea how to do so without spoiling its fervor. Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered. I’ll even tell you where you can score Free Turkeys, yes… Full-sized!
Down below are 8 tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving budget-friendly. Read through them and then we’ll get you the Thanksgiving showstopper, Turkey… for freeeee!
1. Check Your Supplies… Before You Shop
An ideal Thanksgiving dinner mostly showboats delicacies that are one-off specials. The special mashed-potatoes my Nana makes need some extra-special ingredients that are used for that one recipe and shelved for life.
So check your shelves for any of these ingredients that you won’t use again after Thanksgiving. You probably shoved them in the back and forgot about it, and now you’ll buy a new pack (and do the same thing next year).
If you’re on mission ‘Thanksgiving on a budget’, then check your supplies before you hit the stores. You might already have what you’re looking for.
2. Think outside the box Inside the Can
It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving if the essentials like pumpkin pie and Cranberry sauce are off the table. But do they really need to come from your Halloween leftover Pumpkins and hand-picked cranberries? Hell nah!
Most of the canned stuff is close to fresh stuff, if not better. Also, prepping up side-dishes takes a lot of time; you can concentrate on the star of the show and let canned stuff help you out! Canned products will make sure that your Thanksgiving on a budget is, well, on a budget.
3. Buy What’s In-Season, Keep Your Wallet Fresh!
Fall is full of seasonal delicacies like Sweet Potatoes, Squash, and of course, Pumpkin! Rather than stuffing up your table with every frickin’ green you can find, stick to these and play around with them.
Seasonal fruits and veggies are dead cheap and you’ll get ‘em fresh! Your mission Thanksgiving on a budget will get a major boost if you stick to the seasonal stuff. You can whip up some pumpkins and gingerbread and voila! Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle is ready! The recipe’s here.
4. What the (Pot) luck!
Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you’ve got and sharing the spirit with your friends and family. But when it comes to Thanksgiving on a budget, what do you do? You share the burden!
Call up your guests and announce that you’re hosting a giant potluck Thanksgiving dinner. By doing that, you won’t be stuck in the kitchen for ten hours straight. Rather, you can go for the family-special while your guests bring their share of contributions.
Not only will you save money on a tight budget, the fun and frolic just don’t stop. You might get few surprise inclusions like oysters and kebabs-on-sticks.
5. Let Your Guests Worry About the Booze
Turkey and wine are an inseparable duo, so is Thanksgiving and your budget. Alcohol takes up almost 40% of a family’s Thanksgiving budget and this money can be put to better use. Being a host doesn’t make you the bartender!
Now that we’re on the potlucky theme, let’s take it to next levels. Make a theme and tell your guests to follow it. While one brings the bottle of White wine, the other person can chime in with the Red.
You’ll share the booze burden and Thanksgiving on a budget is still on! If you have talented wannabe-bartenders on the guest-list, tell them to mix up and bring cocktails to the party. Let’s hope they’re good enough to drink!
6. More the Appetizers, Less the Fun
When it comes to Thanksgiving, people look forward to Turkey the most. Being the chef, you know it already; why don’t you focus on the turkey rather than cooking up billions of appetizers for a single course?
Keep the side-dishes low, two or three should suffice. It’s not Thanksgiving on a budget if people feast on your appetizers and when Turkey flies to the table, they just have a sliver of it and leave it. That’s criminal!
Also, plating the appetizers is a tough job. We often spend too much time making the appetizers look ‘presentable’, trust me when I say nobody cares about how well-presented they are. Don’t waste your time and efforts.
7. Go Low on Décor- It’s Not Christmas!
I’m not going to explain too much here. YOU DECORATE WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT! Like I said above, it’s not Christmas. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on Thanksgiving mantelpieces and new cutlery.
If you successfully host Thanksgiving on a budget (which you will if you follow what I’m saying) then maybe you can use that saved-up money and spend lavishly this Christmas and Black Friday too! When it comes to décor, stick to the food.
8. Next Day’s Black Friday, Dump the Dirty Dishes!
The best part about Thanksgiving is that it comes a day before Black Friday. But from past experience, we all know that post-Thanksgiving chores spoil the Black Friday fun. By chores, I mean doing the dishes.
If you want Thanksgiving on a budget, then go disposable! Hang a big poly-bag in one corner of the room and tell your guests to dump all paper cups and plates when they’re through with it.
You can easily find Thanksgiving themed combo-packs at Walmart and if you’re one for shopping online, AliExpress is offering $4 coupon on first purchase. Get your disposable cutlery there!
Disposable stuff is cheaper than the detergent you’d use to wash your china cutlery. Also, you can spend the next day Black Friday shopping rather than doing post-Thanksgiving chores!
Now let’s get Free Turkey!
What do you call a turkey that’s got no feathers? Thanksgiving dinner.
What do you call it if you get that Turkey for free? Thanksgiving on a budget!
You’re going to shop for Thanksgiving anyway, and while you’re at it you’ll spend good moolah on Turkey too.
What if I tell you that these places would offer you free Turkey if you shop from them? The best part is that one of these is surely in your hood! Me and my friends have personally shopped at these four places and got free Turkeys. Now’s your chance!
Get yourself an Albertsons Rewards membership and grab a fresh free Signature Farms turkey for a purchase of $150 in a single go. Easy Peasy! Offer valid till November 22.
Purchase groceries worth $100 a single trip, take this coupon from Acme’s weekly flyer and earn yourself a free Signature Farms turkey, Acme-brand’s frozen turkey breast or Jennie-O turkey. Offer valid till November 22.
All you got to do is spend $300 on groceries throughout Thanksgiving (not necessarily in one go too!), become a Price Plus member, (which is free) and a fresh gratis turkey is yours!
I buy my stuff from ShopRite and my Thanksgiving on a budget expedition got a boost when they told me about this offer, sick! You can also get free ham, chicken or Tofurky if you’re not into Turkey. Offer valid till November 22.
Splurge out at least $50 or more at Fareway’s Fresh Meat Counter, that’s all! A 14-pound Fareway Basted Young Turkey will be yours for free! If a 12 pounder isn’t enough for you, apply the discount for a larger bird and get it! Offer valid till November 22.
If this is your first time cooking for Thanksgiving, then get yourself a helper. In my first time, Turkey was in the oven for two hours, and it was still running around!
Anyway, the crucial part is- Don’t be too hard on yourself, go easy on the quantity, and follow the instructions above to enjoy Thanksgiving on a budget. Wishing you a merry Thanksgiving from EBC! Not a good day for your pants!