There is a lot that comes with playing host for a large family affair like Thanksgiving.
Between preparing the house for guests, planning a menu and actually putting that menu together without overcooking your turkey or having clumpy gravy, there’s a lot of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the dinner host — not to mention the financial burden it can bring.
There are plenty of things you can do to cut down the costs associated with Turkey Day, giving you a little peace of mind ahead of the holiday.
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Below are nine ways you can put money right back in your pocket (and possibly save for Christmas) when hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
- Stick to what you know
- Share the responsibility
- Create the menu before you shop
- Don’t skip a browse through the kitchen
- Limit last-minute purchases
- Look for coupons
- Have leftover plans
- Try BYOB
- Use DIY decor
1. Stick to what you know
While experimenting with different recipes can be fun, Thanksgiving may not be the best time to try out the new dessert recipe you saw on your TikTok feed.
From a financial perspective, trying new recipes could result in a lot of wasted ingredients if what you try to create doesn’t quite turn out the way you planned it.
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Stick to recipes that you are familiar with and confident in making to limit wasted ingredients, which correlates to money down the drain.
2. Share the responsibility
Just because your home will be the setting of the beautiful Thanksgiving feast does not mean you are solely responsible for said feast.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to guests and ask them to bring a dish. Having others bring side dishes and desserts can be extremely helpful to you and will also save you tons of money.
Most of the time, loved ones will be very willing to help out, and may even offer to do so. Just make sure you know who is bringing what ahead of time, so you don’t end up with two pans of stuffing and no sweet potato casserole.
3. Create the menu before you shop
Once you know what everyone is bringing, it’s time to figure out your menu and figure out what you need to make. Don’t start shopping without a clear list, or you’ll end up buying way more than you need.
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Create a clear menu of the dishes you want to have and then write down all the ingredients you’ll need to create the dish.
4. Don’t skip a browse through the kitchen
Before you shop at the store, shop in your own kitchen. You probably have a lot more ingredients than you realize. Buying duplicates of items, especially things like spices, can really add up.
Be extra sure that you don’t have an ingredient already before purchasing it.
5. Limit last-minute purchases
The price of staple Thanksgiving items may go up and be in very limited quantities too close to the holiday.
Try to get the bulk of your shopping done in advance to save yourself money and stress. Additionally, when it comes to buying a turkey, make sure that you are buying the proper amount for the number of guests that you have.
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A turkey can be a very expensive dinner item, and while you want to have enough, you don’t want to spend extra money on a turkey that is far too big for your guests.
6. Look for coupons
Don’t skip out on coupons. It may not seem like it, but using coupons can save you tons of cash.
Also, compare prices of products at different grocery stores to make sure that you are getting the best price possible.
7. Have leftover plans
Have plans for your leftover food so that it doesn’t go to waste.
Thanksgiving food is great to put together in a delicious turkey sandwich the following day.
Take some leftovers for yourself and also have a plan for how to distribute them to your guests. To save money, ask your guests to bring their own Tupperware with them to take any leftovers they’d like to take home.
8. Try BYOB
Buying alcohol for guests can quickly become an enormous expense. Buying less expensive drinks like soda and lemonade will help keep beverage costs low.
If guests want to have alcoholic beverages, simply let them know that it will be a BYOB event. That way, those who want alcohol can bring whatever they prefer with them and anyone who doesn’t want alcohol will have other drink options.
9. Use DIY decor
No need to dump loads of cash into decorating your house for the occasion, since there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make your own decorations.
Plus, putting them together yourself is more rewarding at the end of the day, and can be a really fun activity for you and your family to do together.
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