Turkey day is almost here! It's a day to celebrate with friends, family, and of course food. However, if you have the honor of hosting Thanksgiving dinner it can get expensive. To help you out, I have put together some quick tips to help you stay on budget when your hosting Thanksgiving this year.
How to Keep Thanksgiving Dinner Affordable
1. Get an accurate guest count.
Knowing exactly how many people will be attending your Thanksgiving meal is a good way to avoid overspending and overcooking. Make sure to include kids and adults in your count. Kids tend to eat less than adults, which should factor into how much food you need to cook.
2. Prepare dishes with overlapping ingredients.
A good way to save money when planning your Thanksgiving meal menu is to choose dishes that use overlapping ingredients when possible. This way you use up all the ingredients you buy instead of throwing away leftovers. This will reduce your grocery bill.
3. Ask guests to bring side dishes.
Rather than fronting the costs for the entire meal, make it a potluck style Thanksgiving. You can cook the turkey and have your guest bring a side dish. This will cut down on cooking time, stove and oven use, and it gives everyone the feeling they’ve contributed. That's probably how it happened at the first Thanksgiving anyway!
4. Get a frozen turkey, instead of fresh.
Buying a frozen bird instead of a fresh one can save you money on your Thanksgiving feast and the turkey will taste just as good! Just remember it takes 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator, according to FoodSafety.gov. So if you have a 20 pounder, it will need about 4 days to thaw out. Plan ahead.
5. Get décor deals at the dollar store.
You can make centerpieces that are both wallet-friendly and beautiful by buying items from a dollar store, where everything costs $1. You can also check out thrift stores for fun decorations to use too. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your Thanksgiving meal feel festive.
6. Freeze the leftovers.
If you end up with way too much food, like most people, don’t shove all of them in the fridge. You will get tired of eating leftover turkey within two days and then it will sit for weeks and go bad. Instead freezing leftovers can help you not waste and have an easy meal in a few months when your on a time crunch.
7. Make your meal from scratch.
Cooking from scratch, can take a little longer, but is less expensive than buying already prepared dishes. Plus, your dishes will taste better. If you think about the basics of a traditional Thanksgiving meal (turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, etc), you can generally purchase these items inexpensively.
8. Start shopping early.
As with anything in life, a little planning ahead will save you money on your Thanksgiving meal. Try to have your grocery list ready as early as you can, this will give you time to compare prices and fine tune your menu to fit your budget. Generally, grocery stores will have sales on the basic Thanksgiving ingredients in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
Don't let hosting Thanksgiving dinner stress you out or strain your finances. There are lots of ways you can reduce the costs of Thanksgiving. If you start to feel like your spending too much on food, cut back your shopping list or ask others to pitch in. Remember, it's a day to be thankful, not stressed.