Tips For Hosting Thanksgiving On A Budget

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Thanksgiving is a fun holiday for countless people, but it can also be quite daunting. Hosting even a small group for Thanksgiving takes a lot of preparation, and it’s also expensive. Luckily, we have several tips for hosting Thanksgiving on a budget so you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Ask for your family and friends to bring food to Thanksgiving dinner so all the costs don’t fall on you. You can also ask to split the cost of certain dishes and supplies with family members. Get a head count before Thanksgiving to see how much food you must buy, and ask your guests to bring alcohol if they plan to drink.

You can also save money with coupons and day-old bread if you make stuffing. Dollar stores and sites like Amazon sell plenty of cheap Thanksgiving decorations. Follow along as we highlight 12 tips for hosting Thanksgiving on a budget.

How to Cheaply Host Thanksgiving Dinner

Whether it be foregoing alcohol or getting décor from the dollar store, it’s easier than ever to cheaply host Thanksgiving dinner. Check out these 12 easy tips to stay on budget for Thanksgiving.

1. Ask For Help

All of the costs of Thanksgiving don’t have to fall on you when you host dinner. Hosting Thanksgiving can cost hundreds of dollars if you have a big family and invite lots of guests. There is nothing wrong with asking your family and friends to help prepare dishes and desserts to help with the cost.

For example, your sister and brother-in-law could bring the cranberries and your cousin can bring the cookies. You don’t have to ask everyone to bring something, but every dish that you don’t have to prepare can help you stay on budget.

2. Look For Deals

In the United States over $600 million is spent on Thanksgiving every year, and most stores are ready for lots of shoppers. You can find the best deals if you buy Thanksgiving essentials, such as turkey, in early November. Major stores like Walmart are less likely to sell discounted turkeys when it gets close to the big day, so it’s best to start shopping early.

3. Borrow Dishes

Borrow dishes from some of the guests you will be hosting if you don’t have enough. There’s no reason to spend a fortune on new dishes for hosting Thanksgiving if you won’t use them year-round. Instead, simply ask a close family member who will be there if they could provide some plates, extra silverware, or even a turkey roaster for the big day.

4. Split The Cost

How big of a group are you hosting for Thanksgiving? If it is too overwhelming for your budget, you can always split the cost. You don’t necessarily have to ask everyone to chip in money, but it helps if at least a few of the guests contribute to the overall cost.

Some people may feel uncomfortable asking for financial help when hosting Thanksgiving. In that case, you can simply leave out a donation bucket at dinner so you don’t have to have an uncomfortable conversation. This is a subtle way to get a little help to stay on budget without feeling like you are begging for it.

5. Make It A BYOB Dinner

There is no reason to buy all the drinks if you already plan to buy all the food and decorations. Whether it be wine and beer for the adults or juice and soda for the kids, drinks can make a dent in your budget. That’s not a problem if you make Thanksgiving a BYOB event.

Simply let your guests know to bring drinks to dinner. Of course, you can still provide water without spending a fortune, but you can save at least $50 or more if you ask your guests bring alcohol.

6. Check To See What You Have

It’s easy to forget about what you have in your fridge or pantry. You could easily have some items stored at your house that will come in handy on Thanksgiving. Whether it be breadcrumbs and butter or spices, they will serve as one more thing you don’t have to buy.

Of course, you must check the expiration dates to make sure you can still safely use these items. Simply cross them off your shopping list if they are safe to eat and be glad that you can save some money!

7. Find Cheap Decorations

There is no reason to go all out on Thanksgiving decorations. Most people will just be happy to eat with their family and friends. That said, you can make the experience a bit more memorable if you put up some cheap decorations to set the mood.

Dollar stores typically have simple and inexpensive decorations for your dinner table. It also helps to stock up on discounted Thanksgiving decorations after the holiday. Many stores mark down Thanksgiving decorations after the holiday. That won’t help this year, but you can use the discounted decorations next year.

8. Only Buy As Much As You Need

Get a head count of how many people will come over for Thanksgiving. This will give you an idea of how much food you need. Avoid splurging and getting more than you need, unless you plan to eat all the leftovers.

The general rule of thumb is to buy up to 2 pounds of turkey per person. You can get by with an 11- to 12-pound turkey if you are only hosting 5 people. Otherwise, you can go bigger if you want to keep some leftovers. Just make sure to eat them before they go bad!

9. Buy Day-Old Bread

Do you plan to make stuffing for Thanksgiving? If so, you don’t need to buy fresh bread. Many people think that day-old, slightly stale bread is even better for stuffing. It helps give the perfect consistency and it will help you to stay on a slim budget.

10. Brainstorm Cheap Alternatives

Hosting Thanksgiving on a budget is easy if you brainstorm cheap alternatives. For example, you can typically save money if you get a rotisserie chicken instead of a turkey. Homemade pies with pear and apple fillings or even fresh squash are also much cheaper than buying pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving.

Are you hosting any vegetarians? If so, faux turkey is typically cheaper than real turkey, and it’s also quite healthy.

11. Stick To Seasonal Produce

It’s much cheaper to buy seasonal produce than fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season. Seasonal produce during November includes squash, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. Squash and cranberries are Thanksgiving staples, and endless recipes and dishes call for sweet potatoes.

12. Use Coupons

It’s easier than ever to find coupons online and in stores. There are several coupon apps available that provide discounts and even let you earn points when you buy certain items. Otherwise, you can simply buy groceries at full price and scan the receipts with an app like Fetch and Shopkick to earn money.

How Much Should You Spend On Thanksgiving?

You can spend as little as $60 on Thanksgiving if you host a small group. Last year, the average person spent $64 on Thanksgiving, but several factors affect the total cost. Group size is the biggest factor when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving on a budget.

The cost of Thanksgiving has gone up by 20% in the last few years. You can expect to spend at least $6.50 per person if you buy most of the food, decorations, cookware, and dishes. Meat, alcohol, and desserts make up a big part of the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner.

Summing It Up

Hosting Thanksgiving on a budget is easy if you look for deals at stores and use coupons. Ask your guests to bring drinks so you can save money on alcohol, and borrow dishes if you don’t have enough. You can find cheap decorations online and at dollar stores. It also helps to buy day-old bread for stuffing and find cheap alternatives to Thanksgiving food, like chicken and pear pie.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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