10 Tips to Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

Thanksgiving is approaching very quickly. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you know that the cost of organizing it can be quite expensive.

It can be even more stressful if you are on a tight budget. This is why, today, I want to share my best money-saving tips to have Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.

Whether you are looking to prepare the most traditional Thanksgiving dinner or go a bit overboard with some extras like decorations and other add-ons, the costs of Thanksgiving Day can really add up fast.

The good thing is that there are simple ways to save money on Thanksgiving. Here are ten ways to host Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.

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10 Smart Ways to Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

1. Plan Your Menu Ahead of Time

One thing that will save you a lot of time and money is planning your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time.

Make a menu and plan for the dishes you will cook that day. If you’re running short on recipes, do some research on Google or Pinterest for some cheap and easy Thanksgiving menus and recipes.

Planning a Thanksgiving menu will also help you with the list of ingredients you’ll need for hosting your Thanksgiving on a budget. Go over each recipe and write down your shopping list.

Related Post: How to Meal Plan on a Tight Budget

2. Look for What You Already Have

Before doing your grocery shopping, don’t forget to check your pantry or freezer for what you already have so you can avoid buying things twice.

Have some frozen vegetables, spices, or can goods? Use them!

Double check with your grocery list and eliminate items that you already have that can be used to prepare your dishes.

This simple trick will save you lots of money when planning Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.

3. Keep it Simple

Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to mean cooking an extravagant meal. Try to keep things simple and to the point.

Going overboard with your Thanksgiving dinner can blow up your budget. Staple dishes like turkey, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and a dessert can satisfy everyone.

Think about budget-friendly recipes that you can cook with simple and common ingredients.

4. Shop Smart

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy the things from your Thanksgiving shopping list.

There were a couple of occasions when I waited until the last minute to do my shopping, and it was very difficult to find what I really wanted.

Stores usually put their displays and sale items up weeks before Thanksgiving Day. Try to take advantage of this time before Thanksgiving to do your grocery shopping ahead of time.

Also, make sure to look for store ads. It’s common to receive circulars or flyers in the mail with store promotions and even coupons that you can mix and match.

Related Post: 11 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

5. Don’t Be a Name-Brand Loyal

There is nothing wrong with buying store brand or generic products.

I have tried several generic products that are cheaper than brand name ones but taste very similar. In fact, many store brand and generic products contain fewer ingredients than their brand name counterparts.

Although many people get caught up in big name brand products, you don’t have to.

Going for store brand or generic products can help save a considerable amount of money when shopping for your Thanksgiving dinner.

6. Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back

Take advantage of Ibotta (a free app) to get cash back on your grocery shopping. I’ve been using this app for a long time, and it is incredible how much money I have saved!

I highly recommend using this money saving app to get cash back on your purchases. You can get cash back for buying things like fruits and vegetables and even for just scanning your receipt!

Right now, Ibotta is offering a free $10 welcome bonus to new members! You can register for Ibotta here.

7. Cook Dishes in Advance

Besides planning your Thanksgiving meal in advance, you can also start cooking ahead of time, which can help you save time and money.

You can make your Thanksgiving dinner on a budget less hectic and stressful by cooking a week or several days before Thanksgiving Day.

Recipes like casseroles, mashed potatoes, rolls, and even pies can be made in advance. Put them in the freezer and thaw and reheat later.

If possible, cook your meals in double batches and freeze them in portions so you can still enjoy your holiday meals during the following weeks.

These frozen dishes can help you a lot on those busy nights or when you don’t feel like cooking at all.

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8. Let Your Guests Bring Something

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner on a budget is a matter of strategy. If your guests offer to bring a dish or dishes, let them!

In my family, we usually assign guests to bring one or more dishes depending on the number of people coming for Thanksgiving dinner.

The great thing about doing this is that there are always plenty of leftovers for everyone to take home and plenty of help to clean the dishes!

Letting your guest bring a dish can definitely help lower the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner. Also, you’ll cook less and have more time to enjoy this special holiday.

9. Skip the Alcohol

It can be tempting to buy alcohol and have a Thanksgiving dinner party with your friends and family.

But not only is alcohol expensive, but it seems to go quickly at most festivities, and this can be a budget breaker.

To avoid extra expenses and have a Thanksgiving on a budget, skip the alcohol completely. But if one of your guests offers to bring something to drink in addition to a dish, you can always ask for alcoholic beverages if you’d like.

10. Think Twice about Decorations

Decorating your house for Thanksgiving can be really expensive and put a dent in your bank account. If you really want to have Thanksgiving dinner on a budget, skip the fancy decorations and use what you already have!

A cheap alternative to store-bought decorations that may require a little bit of creativity is DIY Thanksgiving decorations.

You can make some by using outdoor things such as leaves or pinecones. Pinterest has tons of amazing cheap and easy Thanksgiving decorating ideas.

Another affordable option is to use dollar store decorations. They may not look as luxurious as some decorative items from big craft stores, but they will serve their purpose, and you will stick to your Thanksgiving dinner budget!

How do you save money on Thanksgiving? Do you have other tips for hosting Thanksgiving dinner on a budget?

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