There’s nothing quite like sitting down with friends and family for a big Thanksgiving Dinner.
Of course, to get there is a whole different story. It can take untold hours to fix the meal, plus hundreds—if not thousands—just to get all the supplies and ingredients.
Which is why in today’s article, I’m going to give you 8 ways to save your bank account without sacrificing the quality of the day.
- Have a Budget
The first step is to define exactly how much you want to spend on Thanksgiving dinner. Why is this important? Well, if you don’t have a budget in mind, it’s easy for costs to quickly spiral out of control.
Without a budget, you’ll find yourself walking down the aisles of the store, putting various things in your basket. By the time you reach the checkout, you’re shocked with what the price of it all is. Of course, by that point, it’s usually too late.
On the other hand, when you have a budget, you’ll make sure to get the important things first. After that, you can add any extras on that still fit within the budget. If you find you budgeted too little, you can expand your budget. But by simply having it, you’ll keep costs contained.
- Cook What Food You Need
One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is leftovers. However, what leftovers mean is that you cooked—and bought—more food than you actually needed.
So, there’s room to save a lot of money here. Ask yourself how much leftovers you want… or if you need any at all. If not, you can buy a lot less food than normal, while still making sure everyone is full the day of.
Now, if you do end up with a lot of leftovers…
- Turn Leftovers into Hearty Post-Thanksgiving Dishes
These leftovers can turn into amazing future meals, saving you the cost and time it takes to make them. You can turn the turkey bones and excess meat into a delicious stew. You can make a casserole. Or, you can keep it simple and make a turkey sandwich.
- Go Light on the Extras
Thanksgiving is more than just a turkey. There are appetizers, decorations, and all sorts of accessories that go along with the holiday. If you are looking to save money, make sure to boil it all down to what you really need. Odds are, that’s a Turkey, potatoes and other veggies, and a pie. Sure, your home may not look as festive. But the money is going where it counts… on the table… and in your bank account.
- Have Guests Bring Dishes
There’s no reason why you should foot the bill for everyone at the dinner table. And most times, guests are more than happy to bring a dish… provided you give them instructions.
When it comes time for Thanksgiving, make a list of everyone who is going to come. Then figure out what they can bring based on what you know about them. Some may have speciality dishes they’ve prepared in the past – ask them if they can bring it. When you do this type of organizational work for people, it makes it easy for them to help. The more guests who bring dishes, the better (and cheaper!) the meal is for everyone.
Also, having your guests pitch in goes beyond food. You can even have people bring decorations. This is especially good for either people in your family who are good with crafts, or people who aren’t sure what else they can bring.
- Make Decorations from Leaves
With Fall in full bloom, the leaves outside are absolutely gorgeous. Why not use them as free decoration? If you press leaves in between books for a few weeks, you can frame them for one-of-a-kind artwork that costs almost nothing. You can also incorporate them into wreathes and other festive décor.
- Start Buying Now
If you are the type of person who leaves Thanksgiving until the last minute, not only is that causing you stress… it’s costing you big time! Giving yourself time to plan accomplishes a few things.
First, you can only buy the items you need when they’re on sale. Second, you can comparison shop to make sure you are getting the absolute best prices for every single item.
When you’re at the store, be sure to compare generic prices vs name brand. If you are buying only name brand, that will often cost a few dollars more per item. With an entire shopping cart full, this adds up big time.
- Put an Emphasis on FUN
Thanksgiving may be the biggest “food” holiday there is. So, the food has to be good. But as long as it meets the standard of good, it’s not what people will remember the most. No, they’ll remember the experience they had during Thanksgiving.
So, make it fun. Plan games that the whole family can enjoy. Gestures, ping-pong, and scavenger hunts are always big hits. Learn about the history of Thanksgiving and share it at the table. And before you dive into the meal, go around the table and have everyone list at least one thing they’re thankful for.