The holiday season is kicking off with Thanksgiving, but don’t get stuffed paying high prices on hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, 25% of US consumers said they were planning to spend up to $150 on Thanksgiving. Roughly another 25% reported that they were expecting to spend even more than this. Instead, by preparing in advance and following some of these tips, you can host a a memorable evening with friends and family without stressing about the associated costs. To do this, we’re sharing some of the best tips to celebrate Thanksgiving on a budget. Let’s get started!
How to Host Thanksgiving On a Budget
Depending on your unique situation, some of these tips may be useful, and others may be skippable. Regardless, we’ve compiled some suggestions for how to keep the price as low as possible when you’re hosting Thanksgiving.
Create a Menu and Shopping List to Keep Your Thanksgiving Meal on a Budget
First things first, it’s essential to plan your menu. A menu will, of course, dictate your shopping list. When you confirm your menu, double-check your shopping list to make sure you’re grabbing everything you need. To keep the costs down, try to stick to essential dishes so you can repurpose many ingredients and use them after the holidays. If some ingredients are only used once, check to see if you already have something you can use as a substitute.
Check Your Pantry
Before you head to the store, go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry to ensure you don’t already have some of the ingredients you need. There are a lot of spices and seasonings you will likely already have lying around.
Price Match and Use Coupons
Some grocery stores are willing to perform price matching. So, spend some time going through mailers and clippings to see what’s being advertised in your area. If you can find a store that honors price matching, conduct research in advance and bring proof of lower prices elsewhere. That way, you can be sure to get the best deal. At the same time, keep your eyes peeled for coupons and promotions around Thanksgiving. Some stores may even offer a free turkey when you spend a certain amount of money within a certain time.
Preserve Fresh Herbs
If you’re buying any fresh herbs to cook with, treat them like you would a bouquet of flowers. That means you can buy them a few days before Thanksgiving. But be sure to clip the ends off and store them in water, as herbs are living organisms. Herbs that need to be treated this way are “soft herbs,” like parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, mint, mint, and tarragon. For “hard herbs,” like rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and chives, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the fridge in an airtight container. The paper towel helps them retain moisture for freshness, and the container keeps out oxygen.
Shop for Turkey Wisely
As previously mentioned, there’s a chance that some stores will offer a free turkey if you spend a certain amount. If you don’t plan to spend that amount on Thanksgiving dinner alone, try to reach the minimum by buying items in bulk that can be preserved. Or, consider asking a friend or family to shop with you to share expenses. Additionally, frozen turkeys tend to be less expensive than fresh turkeys. Remember that a frozen turkey needs to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of meat. Or, if you’re okay with being a little less traditional on Thanksgiving day, forego the turkey and cook a plant-based meal or choose a less pricey animal protein.
Buy Generic Products
Generic brands are usually less expensive than name brand options. For example, Consumer Reports noted that generic products are an average of 25% cheaper than items with a brand name. You’ll notice a difference in price for generic store names over brand names: frozen vegetables, canned foods, and milk, for example.
Shop for Wholesale Beverages
Your grocery tab can quickly add up, especially when you include alcohol and beverages in your shopping cart. Instead of grabbing alcohol at the grocery store, consider a wholesale liquor store to take advantage of potential holiday sales. If you drink wine, think boxed wine versus bottled wine. While boxed wine sometimes does get a bad reputation, you can air it out in a decanter ahead of time.
Try Out Potluck Style for Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget
Celebrating potluck style is a great way to drive down your Thanksgiving costs. This means that everyone who attends your meal is expected to contribute by bringing or cooking a dish of their own. If you do plan to host potluck style, make sure to give your guests enough time to prepare. It also helps to create a shared document with your guest list, allowing each person to check off what they’re bringing. This way, you won’t have different people showing up with the same thing. Finally, communicate any dietary restrictions if you let guests get their own dish.
Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget
Thanksgiving is about spending time with the people you love and expressing gratitude for everything you have. Even if times are financially constrained, hosting a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner on a budget is possible by planning, shopping early, looking out for deals, and employing some of the above recommendations.
For this holiday season and every special occasion thereafter, our team at Cash Factory USA wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and joyous day!
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