3 Ways to Save Money this Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is almost here and whether you are planning on hosting for just your family or a whole host of guests, the time and money spent on preparing a large meal can be overwhelming. I have hosted Thanksgiving exactly once so far in my adult life and while I had a blast doing it, I did not realize how much really went into the planning and execution. Below are three easy ways to save money this Thanksgiving, no matter how many people you are hosting.
Stock up on food you need ahead of time.
If you are on a tight grocery budget, there is nothing worse than the thought of spending your entire weekly budget on a meal for one day! While you may have enough leftovers to last a couple days, it certainly won’t cover you for all meals for a whole week.
As much as you can, spread out the cost over a couple of shopping trips and stock up on any canned or non-perishable items, buy bread to freeze, and make ahead any dishes that can easily be frozen and re-heated. Fresh and perishable food should be bought last, of course. Especially if you are cooking for a large crowd, plan on buying the store brand of any applicable items. Think chicken stock, canned veggies, cranberries, pumpkin, etc. This can save you a fair amount of money in the long run and honestly most store brand items taste exactly the same as name brand.
Finally, make sure you shop around for your turkey. Whether you are planning on buying frozen or fresh, it is worth comparing prices. The year I hosted, I was able to get my frozen turkey for $.99/lb! Purchasing a few items at a time will relieve the stress of shopping for a big meal as well as spread out the total cost across the month.
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
If you are hosting multiple other families or guests, do not hesitate to delegate! Most people want to contribute anyways, but this can allow you to focus on the foods you really enjoy making as well as put money back in your pocket. If you know someone coming is an especially great cook, ask them to make something more complicated that you feel a little nervous about making. Make sure to compliment them on their amazing culinary skills and there is no way they can turn you down! If most of your friends or family are not as skilled in the kitchen or you really want to prepare the majority of the meal yourself, ask guests to contribute any alcohol you plan on serving. This can be a huge budget buster and it is easy for someone to pick up a bottle of wine on their way.
Knock out some DIY decor.
One of the fun things about hosting any gathering is making your table look fun and inviting. Thanksgiving is a great time to utilize lots of cheap (or free!) items. Grab some color-changing leaves off the trees if there are still any left in your area and create a DIY table runner. Use pinecones or acorns to fill bowls or vases. If you are lucky enough to have some smaller pumpkins or gourds still hanging around from Halloween, they make perfect centerpiece additions. Vases or jars (mason jars anyone?) that you already have laying around can be easily spruced up with ribbon, spray paint, or fall foliage. Banners or place cards can be created using index cards or other pieces of card stock and make a great activity for kids to get involved.
So get out there, start planning, and remember to get others involved to make this Thanksgiving an event to remember and cherish.