I’ve always felt like Thanksgiving is a holiday that is a bit under-rated. In comparison, it’s a lot less stressful than Christmas – except for the cooking, of course.
Certainly there are fewer things to do, such as the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and parties you have for the Christmas holiday. For the most part, once the cooking is done, you can give thanks, eat more than you should, relax, and enjoy the company of family or friends.
But if money is tight, Thanksgiving can still be a bit stressful. Can you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget?
What Thanksgiving is complete without a turkey and some pumpkin pie? To make sure your meal is scrumptious, plan the menu and shop for deals ahead of time. This is especially important when you are on a tight household budget.
If you can, ask other family members to pitch in and bring the side dishes, such as stuffing, potatoes, salads, and rolls. You could even get someone to bring a drink to help share in the expense. Make only the turkey and gravy yourself for about $30 to $40, depending on the number of guests.
Shopping ahead of time is an advantage, especially if you do have to prepare all of the food yourself. Scour grocery store sales flyers and clip coupons. Try to pick up canned, boxed, or non-perishable items when they are on sale and increase your savings with coupons if you can. Look for e-coupons to save even more.
Have you heard about those grocery apps you can get on your phone? Try one to keep costs in line.
Since you are the host you have control over what side dishes are served. Don’t include items that are out of season because they cost more.
When you must host a thanksgiving meal on a budget skip the alcoholic beverages. Buying wine, beer, or other spirits will chew up your budget fast.
If alcohol must be served, add champagne to cranberry juice. It will still be a pretty holiday drink but cost you less than alcohol alone would.
There are plenty of ways to entertain while you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget. You could pull out some board games or a couple of decks of cards. Or, play a lively gave of charades together. If you are too full of turkey to move, watching a movie together could be a quieter alternative.
If the weather is nice, go outside in the backyard or to a park and play touch football. Play a thankfulness game so each person can name what they are thankful for.
Be thankful for each other and don’t overspend or overdo the décor when you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget. Keep it simple.
A couple of pumpkins, some pinecones, burlap, nuts and branches can serve as decorations. Jute string, burlap, brown craft paper and gourds are other items that may assist you in putting together creative displays.
Use what you have on hand to add to the mix too. Candles, Glitter, construction paper, and a bit of glue might pull it all together for very little cost.
Other Ways to Make it a Success
Other ways to make your Thanksgiving meal a success include doing as many things ahead of time as you can.
Set the table and check to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need the day before Thanksgiving. The last thing you want to do is run to the store at the last minute. You may end up paying extra for items that would have cost less if you had planned better.
Get your prep work done and don’t try new recipes. Use ones you are familiar with instead to avoid over or under cooking anything. It will cost you more and take more time if you have to make something else as a replacement.
Give yourself plenty of time to get all of the cooking done and reduce your stress.
Make sure nobody has any food allergies to take into consideration.
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Thanksgiving doesn’t have to make you feel stressed. Use these tips and ideas so you can host a thanksgiving meal on a budget.
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