Thanksgiving is a holiday where we celebrate gratitude – for our family, friends, home, food, and other things in our lives. It seems common for people to decorate in fall colors and provide lots and lots of food for their guests. However, if you’re trying to save money and keep to a budget during the holidays, this classic vision of Thanksgiving may not be for you. But what can you do if you’re hosting and others have expectations of how things are going to be?
First: make a plan! What are your priorities? Do you want to have over close family, extended family, and/or friends? That’ll affect how much food you need. Maybe you’ll want to create new traditions, or stick with the old ones. Maybe you want to buy premade dishes, or try out your own new recipes.
If you’re inviting a lot of people, you could have a potluck instead of making/buying everything yourself. That way the cost and the work is spread out, plus anyone who makes or buys something especially tasty will get to feel good from the compliments too! Just make sure to get a list of what everyone is bringing so that you can make sure you don’t end up with too much of one dish.
Once you know who’s coming and how much food you yourself will be providing, you can figure out what you need to buy. This will help when looking at holiday specials, and deciding if there are coupons or other discounts on the items you want. And then there are the usual recommendations when grocery shopping – buy generic instead of brand name, buy in bulk if there’s a good deal, try to get just enough for how many people you’ll be serving.
And don’t forget, the more you make yourself, the cheaper it will be. But you’ll have to decide if that balances out with the time involved in cooking. This can also apply to entertainment – instead of going to the movie theater or somewhere else more costly, play board games at home, or watch a movie from the library or a streaming service you’re already paying for anyway. You can even look up all sorts of games on the internet that you can play together without many supplies needed, or create your own game! Same thing with decorations – making them yourself tends to be cheaper, but can also take more time you might want to spend on relaxing!
Rather than feel burnt out on Thanksgiving Day, we hope with these tips you’ll be able to balance how much work you put into it and how much money you spend. Relaxing and sharing the time with loved ones is a much better way to spend your day (and the rest of your weekend, depending on how long your guests are staying or if you have other parties to go to). Don’t be afraid to mix in new traditions with the old! It’s sure to be a good time for all if you’re not stressed about your holiday budget and you can focus more on making great memories and above all, feeling grateful for all you have on Thanksgiving.