How We’re Doing Thanksgiving On a Budget

November 1, 2018 by Amanda Blankenship

thanksgiving on a budget

Thanksgiving is just weeks away and although Halloween just ended, many people are beginning to prep for the holiday. The average family will spend around $50 on their Thanksgiving meal. For many, this is a hefty cost falling right before the Christmas season. Here’s how to hold Thanksgiving on a budget.

How We’re Doing Thanksgiving on a Budget

This is our first Thanksgiving hosting the “big meal.” Last year, we had Thanksgiving at home with just the two of us and the dog. This year, we will be hosting four others for a total of six.

That is one major way we are keeping our Thanksgiving meal cost low. We are minimizing the number of people we are inviting. For dinner, we will only have six people over. We may have an additional two people at dessert (but there’s always leftover pie, right?).

We are also prepping ahead of time and grabbing things at the store NOW. Usually, we only spend about $95 every two weeks on groceries. However, we are spreading the cost of our Thanksgiving meal out throughout the month. Larger items, like the turkey, will wait until the week before but we can grab potatoes, canned goods, stuffing, and other items throughout the month so the cost isn’t so huge.

Another way to host Thanksgiving on a budget that we are doing is we are asking people who plan on coming over to bring something. They’ve all responded with what they’ll bring so we have an idea of what will be on the table.

You don’t necessarily have to do it the way we do though. Here are a few more ways to trim the cost of your Thanksgiving meal.

Score a Free Turkey

There are a ton of ways to get a free turkey (and we will probably be able to score one ourselves by waiting). Most of the time, these promotions are something like “Buy One, Get One Free” or “Buy X Amount of Groceries, Get a Free Turkey.” We’ll be cashing in on the latter. Here are 11 more ways to get a free turkey for Thanksgiving.

Hold a Potluck

This is kind of what we are doing but a bit more involved for your guests. We will be taking care of most of the meal. However, with a potluck, the host is generally only responsible for the main course. Guests then “sign up” to bring other items. A few people bring sides, one person brings dessert, someone brings drinks, etc. As you can see, this will help trim the cost of your Thanksgiving meal in a huge way because you’ll only need to buy the turkey.

Skip the Traditional Meal

Holding Thanksgiving on a budget sometimes also means skipping out on the turkey for something cheaper. You can buy a roast, whole chicken, or even just a turkey breast by itself and save quite a bit of money on the main course.

Leave Out the Booze

If you typically spend a bit of cash on alcohol for the holiday, consider skipping it this year. This can be a huge expense if everyone partakes in drinking. Booze is an expense you should leave out if you’re trying to hold Thanksgiving on a budget.

Set a Thanksgiving Budget and Stick to It

Most of all, if you don’t want to trim items from your menu, set a budget and rigidly stick to it. If your budget is $50, don’t go over $50. Try finding the bulk of your menu items at a store like Aldi or Lidl where you can get hefty discounts. You can also scan the ads and see who is holding the best deals.

These are just a few ways you can hold Thanksgiving on a budget. Do you have anything you’d add to the list?

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