Host Thanksgiving on a Budget
Thanksgiving ushers in the holiday season and for many people, it’s the most expensive time of the year. Between gifts, traveling and entertaining, the costs really add up. If you are hosting – or have been tasked to host – Thanksgiving dinner, here are some budgeting tips that can help you keep expenses down and free up your money for other holiday needs. You and your guests will still have a fantastic time, and they won’t even notice your cost-cutting strategies.
- Plan ahead – As soon as you know you are hosting Thanksgiving, keep an eye out for sales on turkey and other items that can be frozen or stored until you need them. And of course, always look for coupons. When you are a budget, every dollar counts and coupons can help you keep more cash in your pocket.
- Go potluck – One of the first things people ask when they are invited to a dinner is “what can I bring?” Guests usually want to contribute in some way – especially on Thanksgiving – so don’t be shy about letting them know you would welcome a side dish, appetizer, dessert or their favorite wine. If grandma makes “famous stuffed mushrooms” or Aunt Betty is known for her delectable pumpkin pie, encourage them to bring their dish so that everyone can enjoy it.
- Shop in season – Create your side dishes and desserts around vegetables and fruits that are in-season. You will get more for your money and the produce will be fresher and more nutritious.
- Cook from scratch – Pre-made items like mashed potatoes, pies, and stuffing, cost significantly more than if you buy all the ingredients and make them yourself. While you may be sacrificing some convenience here, the money savings will be worth it. Here’s a pumpkin pie recipe to get you started.
- Keep it simple – Complicated recipes may not only be time consuming to make, but they may also require a lot of ingredients and spices that you don’t already have on hand. Save money by sticking to simple recipes made with just a few ingredients. Check out this pin that links you to 50 Thanksgiving side dishes with five ingredients or less.
- Decorate with nature – There is absolutely no need to spend money on Thanksgiving decorations. First of all, the main attraction is the food, not the centerpiece. But if you want to create a festive atmosphere, think natural. Get the kids involved and collect twigs, colorful leaves, nuts, pine cones, and rocks to fill jars and vases. Or just give your littlest guests crayons and paper and let them draw or write what Thanksgiving means to them.
- If your children made Thanksgiving crafts in school, put them on display – and keep them stored throughout the year so that on every Thanksgiving you can decorate with what are sure to be treasured mementos.
- Create a gratitude jar – It doesn’t cost anything to start this new family tradition. The gratitude jar is a wonderfully simple way to remind everyone what Thanksgiving is really about. Give each guest a small piece of paper and ask them to write down what they are thankful for and put the paper in a jar. Decorate the jar if desired. After dinner, have each person pull out a paper and read it. Instill an attitude of gratitude!
With these tips you can serve your turkey with all the trimmings while trimming your budget. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us at Omni.