Thanksgiving is one of America's favorite holidays, and it's easy to see why. Between the delicious food, the crisp fall air, and getting together with family you might not have seen for a long time, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to live life at its best - but how do you keep your bank account healthy when you're cooking up a storm? Check out our favorite tips below on affordable ways to host Thanksgiving dinner so when the dust settles your wallet is as full as your belly.
Have Guests Bring a Side
If you're hosting for a group larger than your immediate family, it can be a huge help to ask them to pitch in and bring a dish to the meal. The Kitchn recommends requesting something simple like rolls and butter or an extra pie for dessert to make it easy for your guests to contribute without spending hours over the stove.
Check for Deals Early
If you know you're going to be hosting Turkey Day this year, consider making your trip to the grocery store a few weeks early. Love To Frugal notes that many grocery chains offer great deals on turkey if you buy a few weeks in advance (because they know the late arrivals have no choice but to pay more!) while others will offer deals like a free turkey with the purchase of a ham.
Prioritize Your Favorites
Many families end up with weeks or more worth of leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner, and in many cases, you can't send it all away with visiting members because of space or distance limitations. To cut down on costs and food waste, The Kitchn suggests serving fewer dishes overall. This tactic also greatly reduces the feeling of needing to buy pre-made dishes from the store if you're running out of prep time and gives you more time to craft an amazing meal from the dishes attendees love the most.
Skip the Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks can often end up being a huge percentage of your total spending on Thanksgiving preparations, and at times they can create issues between families that should be in harmony. Refinery 29 suggests offering enticing non-alcoholic beverages like cucumber or citrus water or hot cider. Those that really want to loosen up can BYOB, saving you cash and the responsibility of having provided alcohol in the first place.
Don't Be Afraid to Borrow
If you don't normally host large groups or have recently downsized, you may find yourself without some of the equipment needed for the big day. Asking neighbors - especially those traveling somewhere themselves for the holiday - to borrow place settings can be a quick fix, and Love To Frugal suggests checking second hand stores for chafing dishes, platters, and other essentials that work just as well when purchased at a discount.
Decorate with Nature
Like any holiday, buying decorations from the store for Thanksgiving can get expensive quickly. Instead, Smart Cents For Life offers an alternative - check the yard for pine-cones and brilliantly colored leaves that you can use for some fun family craft making. You'll remember whatever comes out much more fondly, and it can give your young ones something to be proud of.
Make the Most of Leftovers
If you're like most families, there will be some leftovers after Thanksgiving no matter how carefully you plan. It's not surprising that we get a little sick of stuffing after the fourth or fifth meal, so get creative! The Kitchn suggests looking online for new recipes for whatever you haven't used up and testing out new dishes. You might even find something you want to try next year and introduce it to the whole family!
A big turkey for Thanksgiving is welcomed by the whole family - a big bill, not so much. Use these tips to keep Thanksgiving affordable while still filling your home with all the love and excitement we are all so thankful for around this time of year.