How to Create a Budget for Your Thanksgiving Meal

October 16, 2020 |

If you are planning to host Thanksgiving at your house this year but money is tight, the first thing you should do is sit down and create a budget and a plan. This will help you control holiday spending and will also prevent food waste.

Fortunately, Thanksgiving is one of the “cheaper” holidays to plan for. Turkeys often go on sale at rock bottom prices, and other traditional foods that are already inexpensive (think stuffing, bread, potatoes – for example) are marked down even lower. The trick is to plan and find the best prices without wasting time, energy, and food.

Budgeting for the Holidays

Budgeting in advance can help you spread the cost of Thanksgiving over several months, not just one. Estimate how many people you will have visiting on the day itself. If your relatives will also be staying with you, factor in the cost of all meals, transportation, entertainment and more while they will be with you.

Make a List of Essentials

Menu planning is one of the best ways to make sure you have everything you would like to serve without breaking the bank. Decide on the main dish – traditionally a whole turkey or turkey breast – as well as side dishes and desserts. Plan your leftovers as well, such as soup stock made from the turkey carcass/es at the end of your feast. Don’t forget to include hot and cold beverages – including alcohol.

Other items you might need to buy or borrow include decorations, partyware, utensils, serving pieces, and so on.

By making a list, you can ensure you have everything you need. You can also do your research, comparison shop, clip coupons, and plan ahead by buying food when it is cheapest.

You can also pick up bargains at farmer’s markets or local orchards and farms. Autumn fruits and vegetables are cheap and can be used to create tasty side dishes that can really stretch your holiday meal, and your budget too. A good way to find these bargains are through online social media on local barter and sales groups such as on Facebook or Next Door.

Use coupons and look out for special deals at services like Fresh Direct, which often give discounts at this time of year to get you to try their service. The prices can be good if you shop the sales, and of course, it’s convenient to have your groceries delivered.

Check out all the store flyers in your area, and clip coupons from the Sunday papers or online sources. If your grocery store has an app – use it to find special extra deals. If your grocery store has “member’s only” deals, become a member and use those deals! Use apps such as Ibotta to further reduce your budget by getting cashback on certain items.

Make a list of everything you want to buy, estimate the cost in round figures, and start setting aside that money. Avoid the temptation to use credit cards; if you don’t pay off your bill in full, you’ll end up paying interest, which means losing any savings you might have gained from your bargain hunting.

As you shop, cross things off your list and note down how much you have spent. The trick is to get all the things on your list and hopefully spend less than you have budgeted for.

Other Ways to Save

One final way to save is to suggest everyone bring a dish to the festivities. Most people have a specialty item they love to cook, and it takes the burden off you and your kitchen, as well as your wallet.

Make a list of what people promise to bring so there is no overlap. If they can’t cook, suggest they bring a beverage, paper products, or a precooked item – such as dinner rolls or a pie.

And finally, don’t forget to enjoy! Thanksgiving is a holiday of good food, good friends and family, and above all – gratitude!

Category: Budget Friendy, Shopping

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