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How to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget
These cheap Thanksgiving recipes and ideas will keep your Turkey Day under budget!
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Hosting Thanksgiving dinner shouldn't be a financial stressor on your family. This guide on how to host Thanksgiving on a budget includes tips and recipes to keep your Turkey Day costs low. From ways to decrease food waste to grocery saving tips, you will find resources that can help keep your expenses down this holiday season.
Whether this is your first time acting as the host or you've entertained for years and want to lower your costs, you will find tips and tricks to keep Thanksgiving dinner under budget. You can even recruit your guests or the kids to help out so you don't have to do all of the work! Get ready for the biggest dinner of the year without breaking the bank.
1. Less Is More
You spend so many hours in the kitchen getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, so why should any of it go to waste? A lot of food is wasted because too much was prepared. Cooking fewer dishes or making less of each dish will help keep your guests satisfied without having to throw away food at the end of the day. In addition, it's better to only prepare dishes that can be frozen and used as leftovers in case there's a large quantity remaining after dinner.
2. Use Smaller Plates
Another cause of Thanksgiving food waste comes from the size of the plates you are using. Guests tend to fill their plates, so using smaller plates will encourage less waste. Guests can always get more to eat if they are still hungry.
3. Make It a Potluck
Why should you be the only person to prepare dinner? Tell your guests that you will provide the turkey and one or two side dishes and have everyone else bring something to share. This way, you can focus on just a few things on Thanksgiving instead of juggling dozens of tasks. This will also significantly lower your cost as you won't be in charge of the entire expense.
4. Avoid Disposables
Disposable plates and silverware will save you from running the dishwasher but add a significant cost to large meals. Instead of buying paper plates every meal, use real plates that you already own or break out the china set that sits in a cabinet all year.
When you're putting away leftovers, use plastic containers that are freezer friendly instead of using plastic wrap to cover your serving bowls. These containers are a one-time cost that will last for years and can be used daily.
You can use Thanksgiving leftovers for more than just turkey sandwiches. Have an idea on how to repurpose every recipe you make for Turkey Day. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:
- Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
- Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
- Mashed Potato Pancakes
- Fried Green Beans
- Cranberry Sauce Muffins
- Thanksgiving Pizza
6. Shop in Advance
If you live on a tight budget, it may be impossible to buy everything for your Thanksgiving dinner at one time. The best way to get all of the ingredients without a one-time expense is by stocking up on items during your regular grocery tips. Make a list of what items you will need, and slowly stock your pantry for the big meal. Canned goods and packaged ingredients can be purchased months in advance while other ingredients can be bought weeks out and kept in the freezer or refrigerator until needed.
7. Take Advantage of Specials
This is the perfect time of year to compare prices between local grocery stores. Many stores will run specials on essential Thanksgiving ingredients, trying to get you to walk through the door. Some stores will even give away free turkeys if you spend enough money in a single trip. Research the deals in your area and take advantage of the best ones.
8. DIY Decor
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to decorate your home with free materials provided by nature. There's no need to purchase decorations when you can make your own out of natural materials. The kids can even help create the decorations! Here are a few of our favorite DIY Thanksgiving decor ideas:
9. Host an Unconventional Meal
If your family and guests aren't fans of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, why don't you switch it up? There's no need to make recipes that no one at your dinner truly enjoys. You can host an unconventional dinner with whatever cuisine you choose which will limit food waste and lower your total cost.
10. Keep It Small
Thanksgiving is about spending time with those for whom you are thankful. The easiest way to keep costs low and honor the holiday is to keep your guest list limited. Whether you choose to keep it within your immediate family or branch out further is up to you, but an intimate Thanksgiving meal is just as good as a large get-together.
Thrifty Thanksgiving Recipes
Here are a few of our favorite recipes to keep your Thanksgiving dinner on budget. These few ingredient recipes will ensure you have enough food to go around without breaking the bank!
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