How to Cook for Thanksgiving without Breaking the Bank

by CashTime Loan Centers

It’s that time of year again, time to start preparing for overnight houseguests and big family meals featuring lots of comfort food, including the annual Thanksgiving Day feast. Are you hosting everyone at your house this year? If you are, you might be thinking about the budget for that big meal, and pondering ways to feed friends and family without breaking your bank account. Good news – we’ve got some tried and true tips for serving up a holiday meal everyone will enjoy without spending more than you have to. Here are some practical tips to help you save money this Thanksgiving:

Don’t spend too much on the decorations. You really don’t need to go all out in this department to create a seasonal centerpiece. A quick and easy way to dress up your holiday table is to make tea light holders from miniature pumpkins. Grab a half dozen or so at the store and let the kids help scoop out the insides. Place them down the center of the table, put a tea light candle in each one (non-scented, so as not to take away from the wonderful aroma of your cooking!) and light them when you’re ready to sit down. The soft glow they give will add a wonderful ambiance to your table, and the tops will serve as candle snuffers when you place them back on the pumpkins once your meal is done. Add a few colorful autumn leaves and couple of pinecones (again, enlist the kids to gather them for you) around the pumpkin candle holders and you’ve got a super inexpensive seasonal centerpiece everyone will love. If you live in an area that doesn’t really experience changing leaves, stock up on decorations the day after Halloween and you’ll likely find everything you need for a fraction of the original price.

When it comes to the turkey, shop around for your bird. A turkey is a turkey, so look for the store that has them on sale. If there’s a local meat locker or processing plant, you might get a better deal than you’ll find at the supermarket. Just remember to look for sale prices and coupons, and give your holiday main dish a day or two to thaw if you buy it frozen. Some stores give customers a free turkey if they spend a certain dollar amount in the weeks before the holiday, while others offer steep discounts if you purchase other holiday staples. Check out online specials or stop by a few stores within driving distance and check out their circulars for Thanksgiving deals.

Make it a potluck and let everyone contribute. Thanksgiving is a great time to let friends and relatives whip up their favorite side dish and bring it along for the party. Not only will it save you time and money, but your guests get to show off their cooking skills and share favorite recipes. This way you know they’re getting at least one side dish they love, and you’re less likely to be left with a lot of leftovers.

Keep the drinks simple. You don’t have to offer a full bar of mixed drinks for your holiday meal. Have one or two non-alcoholic beverages for those who don’t imbibe and offer one white and one red wine for those who do. Let your guests know they can BYOB if there’s something special they’d like to share, but don’t feel as if you have to offer as many options as the restaurant bar down the street.

Remember why you’re together in the first place. Chances are, the people coming to your house for Thanksgiving are coming to spend time with you, and the meal is just fuel for the good times you’ll have watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, a football game, or playing board or card games once the food has been cleared away and the dishes done. Don’t stress over producing magazine-worthy decorations, picture perfect table settings, or 5 star, award winning food – just enjoy the fact that you’re surrounded by family and friends and remember the reason for the holiday is to focus on what you’re thankful for.