November starts the worst time of year for budgeters. Food prices skyrocket, loved ones start dropping not so subtle hints about what they want for Christmas and we get flooded with invites for things we could never afford to attend. Saving money is a challenge this time of year, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips for hosting Thanksgiving without breaking the bank…
Try Something New
Know what you can do and if the full Thanksgiving meal is a no go, try something different. Perhaps you could purchase a variety of bagels, danish and coffees and invite the family over for Thanksgiving breakfast and parade watching. If you’re more of a night owl, invite your guests to come after dinner for dessert. Make a few pies, grab a couple bottles of wine and have some hot chocolate for the kids. It’s perfectly fine to leave the full course meal to the wealthier members of your family…
Thanksgiving dinner usually means sitting around a table…not eating alone on the couch like you usually do. This means you’ll actually need a table…and chairs and dishes (you know the real kind, like that you actually have to wash?) and some extra wine glasses. Buying this stuff can add up pretty quick and it’s senseless if it’s only for the one day. So, ask your friends if you can borrow their folding table or chairs. If that doesn’t work out, then ask your guests to bring some along. Also, ask Grandma if you can borrow her plates for the day. Grandmas always have nice china.
One way to make it look like you’re doing more than you actually are, is to put some extra decorations on the table to fill the empty space. Be strategic. Place some small pumpkins next to the turkey dish, put fall colored leaves by each place setting and be sure to have a centerpiece (bigger IS better). The table will look fuller than it is, so your guests won’t notice you skipped the green bean casserole.
Let your guests help you; tell em’ Thanksgiving is BYOS (bring your own sides) this year. Ask each guest to bring their favorites for themselves, you just provide the Turkey, wine and dessert! Pot-luck is another option, but that requires some planning to ensure that there’s no doubles.
Plan, Plan, Plan
As with anything, it’s always best to plan the day out. If you do decide to go with the full meal, start checking sale flyers now to see what stores are offering the best prices. It’s always a good idea to start shopping early. Add some Thanksgiving items to your shopping list each week and put them away until the end of the month. Don’t wait til the last minute to buy the necessities…it can be harder than you think to find the perfect turkey a few days before Thanksgiving. Also, have your guests give you a definitive “yes” or “no” on whether they plan to attend so you know exactly how much to buy.
Happy Thanksgiving! XOXO