Thanksgiving means giving thanks for all the good in our lives. It also means stuffed turkey and gravy, cranberry sauce, pie and mashed potatoes. It’s a time-honored tradition of spending time enjoying a delectable holiday meal while in the company of those we love. It can also mean spending an awful lot of money. Between the turkey, ingredients for that luscious holiday meal, and décor to set the ambiance, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is not cheap.
Looking for ways to cut back without compromising on the quality and festivity of your meal? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of seven easy ways for you to save on your Thanksgiving costs this year.
1. Verify your guests’ attendance.
Check to make sure you have an accurate head count of the guests who are indeed coming for Thanksgiving dinner before you begin planning a menu or a detailed shopping list. You don’t want to end up with a fridge full of leftovers.
2. Find out what your guests like.
Ask your guests’ individual tastes and diets while doing your inviting. Aside from specialized diets, ask about particular foods your guests like to eat and those they won’t touch. If something on your menu isn’t very popular with your guests, skip it, even if you think it’s an “obligatory” Thanksgiving food.
3. Make it a potluck.
Slash your spending and your stress in one step by answering an enthusiastic “yes!” to every guest who asks if they can bring something. Don’t just say “anything’s fine,” though, or you might have seven desserts. Instead, create a list with your planned menu and let your guests input what they’d like to contribute to the meal. This way, they’ll know exactly what you need, you’ll know what they’re bringing, and best of all, you won’t be doing all the cooking yourself.
4. Serve on smaller plates.
Most people will load up their plates to capacity, regardless of the plate’s size. Curb the wasting at your table by using smaller dinnerware. Let your guests load up all the way without leaving half-full plates. They can always refill if they still want to eat more later.
5. DIY décor.
You can set a beautiful holiday table scape without blowing your budget with a little imagination. Shop the local dollar store for discounted decor that still packs a punch, like colored vases, artificial flower arrangements and other centerpieces. Look for easy, inexpensive DIY ideas online. Finally, get creative by using things around the house or yard as your décor.
6. Shop the sales.
Supermarkets tend to run specials on Thanksgiving staples starting as early as Halloween. Plan your menu in advance so you can take advantage. You can also keep your menu flexible until you see what is on sale and then base your dishes on the ingredients and produce that’s cheapest. Also, be sure to shop around for your turkey! Grocery stores tend to have the best deals on the birds, with some even running free turkey deals when you spend a specific amount on other groceries.
7. Cook from scratch.
Most everything is less expensive and tastes better when it’s homemade. Start your cooking well enough in advance so you don’t find yourself relying on too many convenience foods.
You don’t need to spend a fortune in order to create the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. All it takes is a little planning!