• Rebekah Gamble

15 Easy Ways To Host Thanksgiving on a Budget

Thanksgiving is a holiday where the average family spends hundreds of dollars and left overs go in the garbage can. You can save money and spend less by adding a few tips and tricks into your budget. Lets make this one day that you won't forget for all of the right reasons.

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed feelings and memories. For some it is a joyful time where grandma used to bake the best pies and mom would serve classic cups of coquito.

And for others it's a time of remembering all that your family doesn't have. Social media does nothing to help calm your urge for a cliche "normal" holiday and by the end of the day you're happy it's over.

Somewhere down the line, the true meaning of the holidays became distorted into how you can make the biggest meals or put the most Christmas gifts under the tree.

So if you've stumbled upon this post let me show you 15 tips and tricks to having a superb Thanksgiving dinner without breaking the bank. We're minimizing expensive items but maximizing the fun.

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Set a budget

Do you want to spend only $100? Are you looking for wiggle room in spending, but want to stay under $200? It's time to determine what you can afford to spend and how early you can start putting money away for it.

Get out your bank statements. Remaining money= Income - Bills
Look at what is left over and allocate certain funds to different categories (wants, savings, and/or debt)

Look at your income and make sure you can afford the budget you decided on. For those who are using public assistance, such as food stamps, avoid focusing only on Thanksgiving when shopping. There still is an entire month of groceries you need to buy.

Figure out the guest list

If 5 people say yes they can come, then plan to cook for that amount of guest. It saves everyone time and money.

This has always been important but with the coronavirus still lingering in the air, there are people who are too nice to deny your invitation. They'll accept and simply not show up.

Make a free E- Invitation or ask relatives are they coming and how many people they are bringing. Your tone and wording can help someone to open up about whether or not they feel comfortable attending.

Start shopping in advance

If you know tuna is used for your seafood salad and you see it on sale, pick it up. Store it away in your pantry, and now you have one more thing crossed off your list.

Related: How Creating a Sinking Fund Can Eliminate Stress

Use what you have in your pantry

You know the rice you keep in the back of the shelf, or the box cake mix you never used but were determined to buy?

Now is the time to break it out, especially if you invite guest over for dinner. If you aren't a fan of it, chances are they will be, and now you have more room in your cabinet for things you'll actually use.

Hunt for sales

Family dollar has great affordable prices on canned goods and Walmart sells frozen vegetables for as low as $0.49.

Don't buy all of your ingredients from your local supermarket. Hit up vegetable stands, and walk the extra block to save a $1 or $2

Not everything has to be fresh

Supermarkets make certain ingredients more affordable around the holiday time. So if you wanted yams, and collard greens, even kale chances are you will find a better deal than normally.

But two bunches of greens can still cost you $8 depending on where you live whereas a canned vegetables will also be on sale but for less. Choosing between the two items can save you preparation time and money in the long run. Why spend all day in the kitchen if you don't have too?

Skip the left overs

Not really skip. But avoid cooking and planning to have food for several days. Cook for the amount of guest you have and allow there to be enough for lunch the next day.

Left overs are eaten up to 4 days [sometimes longer] and by the fourth day you're already tired of it. But because of how much time was spent cooking or the fear of wasting money, you keep eating.

Unless you're known for planning for 4 people and 6 others end up appearing at your door, there is no need to purposely make dinner like you're going to a family reunion.

If you're buying alcohol don't buy a lot

Instead of pouring everyone shots, make a punch. It'll replace the demand for hard liquor.

Punch will not only last longer but it will taste good too! An added bonus is that the juice, whether its packets of $0.35 kool aid or boxed Minute Maid, will be cheaper than several large bottles of any booze.

Grown up juice shouldn't break the bank either.

Aim for simple meals

Stop buying things you think other people will like and stick to an actual menu.

If you like lasagna, pie, chicken, rice, and yams. Why are you making roast pork, turkey, cold and hot macaroni, a cake, and several types of potatoes?

Too many options will not only overwhelm you but your guest as well. As a result plates look full but there is only a small amount of every meal item.

Left overs are only useful when they're eaten.

Skip fancy tableware

Buy styrofoam plates, to lessen the dishes.

But you don't need new wine glasses to drink out of and extravagant Thanksgiving themed decorations for the table. They look pretty but will you use them again in the next 365 days?

Probably not.

Consider a potluck

I myself have not hosted a potluck but my college has hosted a few. You can ask each guest to just bring one dish.

One meal that is brought to Friendsgiving, a work potluck, even your own personal potluck, can cost just under twenty bucks.

It's all about be proactive in your spending and finding good bargains.

Fight the urge to impress guest

Reflect on what you normally do for Thanksgiving, and if a new guest is in the mix, don't go over budget to meet expectations. People should come over for the amazingly tasty (but cheap) recipes you make, and the presence of family.

Not to see exactly how much food you cooked and if you have an overpriced Cornucopia.

Follow positive pages on social media

Check out my Instagram here if you need a place to start!

This is not the time to compare yourself to others who live a different lifestyle.

Follow pages that promote saving, budgeting, self love, and affirmations, so that you always feel a dose of support when you go online.

This is can make the difference between normalizing financial control and spending more to fit it.

Remember the meaning of Thanksgiving

This is a day for you to spend with people who bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. There isn't any room for negative energy or money talk [unless it's about financial goals].

Start new traditions

If attending the annual Thanksgiving feast means 8 hours of feeling doubt and anxiety, it may be hard news to deliver to your family, but you do not have to attend.

As you get older it is easier to determine what you like and don't like. Setting boundaries isn't the easiest form of self care but asserting your authority feels nice.

Don't sacrifice self care and energy for the sake of dry turkey and corny jokes.

Lastly, make realistic SMART goals regarding how you want the day to go, and allow this holiday to be a special one.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving is expensive because we don't take advantage of opportunities that are offered around us! In a world where food is overpriced, a budget, determination and patience, can help you to make the most of it.

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