Thanksgiving is a time to focus on family, friends, and gratitude. There’s nothing like a bountiful meal, prepared with love, to bring people together. But sometimes, the financial strain of buying the food, serving ware, decorations, and everything else that goes into it can put a damper on the party. According to Fortune, the average Thanksgiving dinner cost is nearly $50 for a meal for 10. That’s not even factoring in costs like cookware, platters, place settings, or centerpieces. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for savvy shoppers to cut corners and still come up with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will love.
Stick to a Budget
To create a realistic budget for your holiday dinner, you’ll need a headcount and a good idea of how much you can actually spend. The typical “turkey and the works” meal averages out to about $5 per person. If you’re inviting a big crowd and have a tight budget, you’ll have to get creative. For example, you can spread out the costs over a period of time so you don’t have to spend so much at once. Buy non-perishables, like stuffing mix or canned goods, or items that can be frozen, like dinner rolls, up to a two months ahead of time.
Retailers know that as the holidays approach, shoppers are keeping a close eye for bargains. Check local grocery store sales flyers to save big on staples like pie crust and cranberries, and be on the lookout for special offers that allow you to earn points or coupons for a free turkey. It’s also a good idea to buy in bulk, provided you have the storage or freezer space. Discount club stores often have unbeatable deals on Thanksgiving essentials.
Try a potluck-style dinner–not only will it cut down on expenses, it will also give others a chance to showcase a favorite dish or family recipe. It might be a good idea to assign dishes or have everyone check in with you so there aren’t duplicates. You could also do a slightly different twist on typical holiday fare by reconsidering “traditional” Thanksgiving foods. If you’re still making Great-Aunt Prudie’s recipe for Watergate salad that no one ever actually eats, just because “it’s not Thanksgiving without it,” you’re wasting money, food, and time. Try something that’s less elaborate and more of a crowd-pleaser to cut costs and reduce food waste.
Cut Serving Costs
While food is a big part of Thanksgiving costs, hosting can add up quickly. One way to save on these expenses is to borrow instead of buy. Need extra seating? Ask around and see if a friend or neighbor has some chairs they aren’t using. For extra serving space, repurpose what you already have–dig that old card table out of the garage and dress it up with a festive tablecloth and centerpiece.
Get creative with decorations–you can even enlist the help of kids or crafty friends. Take stock of what you already have, like pumpkins, gourds, and ribbon. Then, get inspired by Midwest Living’s excellent list of easy Thanksgiving decor ideas. Finally, head down to your nearest One dollar zone! to pick up candles, silk florals, and anything else you need to craft your own easy, harvest-themed centerpieces and decorations.
- With a little creativity and preparation, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a financial stressor
- Be on the lookout for sales, special offers, and great prices
- Don’t be afraid to enlist friends and family to help cut costs
And of course, you’ll want to check out one dollar zone to save big on essentials like serving ware, utensils, placemats, tablecloths, and more!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reunite far-flung family members over a delicious meal, but it can be shockingly expensive. According to US News and World Report, Americans will spend nearly $2.4 billion on food alone this year. While it can be tough to find a turkey at a bargain, you don’t have to spend a lot to decorate your home for this holiday. Just enlist your kids and get crafting! Here are five of the best Thanksgiving crafts for kids allowing them unleash their inner Picasso, all while also helping you decorate without breaking the bank. (more…)
Halloween is one the spookiest times of the year filled with haunted houses, hayrides and horror films! But one of the scariest things about Halloween can be how much people spend on the candy, the costumes and the other treats. The National Retail Federation estimates that people in the US will spend more than $9 billion total on Halloween this year, which works out to more than $86 per person. Yikes!