How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

It’s close to the most wonderful time of the year, but we need to remember another important holiday that always seems to be shelved after Halloween. Although Thanksgiving is centered on being thankful for what you have, let’s be honest, it’s about the food.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful on you and your budget, whether you’re hosting for the first time or tenth time it is not an easy feat. Americans are spending on average about $50 for a traditional meal that includes turkey, stuffing, cranberries, dinner rolls, green peas, dessert, and one beverage. This doesn’t include what you spend on alcohol, additional sides, appetizers, and décor. Instead of digging into your gift giving budget find out how to spend less on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Get a free turkey. Companies like BJ’s, Shop Rite, and Publix are just a few companies who are offering up free turkeys for customers. Each store has their own conditions such as buying four particular products, or transferring a prescription, or buying a certain amount each week for earning the free turkey. Look into what other promotions may be available at your local grocery stores to see how you can save over $20 with a free turkey.
  • Join the BYOF* movement. You’ve heard of BYOB, but some pubs and bars have changed this to *bring your own food. You don’t necessarily have to make it a potluck but suggesting guests bring a dessert, appetizers, side dish, drinks, even ice will help your wallet. It will also add to the spread.
  • Use what’s in your fridge or pantry. Get creative and find a new spin on traditional thanksgiving dinner recipe using what is already available in your home rather than spending money on new spices, sauces, etc. You could also just create your own traditions by making not-so-traditional thanksgiving foods.
  • Do it yourself. Cooking from scratch can be rather time consuming, but can also save you more. It’s easy to consider buying an already cooked ham or turkey, desserts, or even sides, but you could save by cooking from scratch and taking advantage of all the Thanksgiving Day sales at grocery stores.
  • Use your garden or local green market. Buying fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits can be costly at grocery stores so try a local green market or use your own garden. It might be good time to start thinking about planting a garden for next year’s festivities.

Host thanksgiving dinner without breaking the bank this year, after all, it’s about being thankful for what you have and whom you’ll be sharing it with.