Big gatherings with lots of food and decorations can easily become a budget disaster. Hosting a frugal Thanksgiving, or Christmas for that matter, isn’t impossible. Doing so requires a bit more planning, but the savings in the end will be worth it. One thing to remember in the midst of all the craziness is the purpose behind all the decorating and cooking. While it is nice to have a beautifully decorated home, and a big spread of food, the celebration is more about the company and the celebration than the stuff. Don’t make yourself go crazy over planning it all.
The food is generally the biggest expense when it comes to a holiday meal gathering, but planning ahead will really pay off.
- If the get-together is fairly big, don’t feel bad about asking your guests to bring a side dish or dessert. I’m sure they would be more than happy to help you out.
- In the weeks leading up, keep your eyes peeled for the loss leader sales. Grocery stores are trying to get you in their door and are going to offer rock bottom prices on certain items. At a grocery store in my tiny area I’m able to get a turkey for .40 cents a pound, 3 pounds of sweet potatoes for $1, and canned veggies for .39 cents (although our preference, as well as the more frugal option, is home canned). That is only one store, which isn’t a national chain.
- Make it from scratch. Instead of buying turkey gravy for your mashed potatoes , use the broth from cooking your turkey and make your own gravy in a snap. Remember those heels of bread you usually toss–turn them into stuffing! Or how about making your own dinner rolls, even if it is a few days in advance, instead of buying the pricey frozen ones? Oh, and definitely skip that canned pumpkin, and make a true pumpkin pie!
- Try not to go overboard. I know this hard, because I struggle with it myself. However, the more food you have, the bigger expense there is. I know Thanksgiving traditionally is a feast, which is a-okay–but don’t go waaaayyy out and break your budget (and lose your sanity) in the process.