FABULESSLY FRUGAL FRIDAY: Thanksgiving on the Cheap!

Turkey? Check. Gravy? Check. Pumpkin pie? Check. What’s missing?  Perhaps all of the money in your bank account.

Hosting a Thanksgiving feast at your house can be the highlight of the holiday season, but providing food for a large group can quickly become a financial burden.  Implementing a few money-saving tips can ease the crunch on your wallet and shift the focus back to the most important part of Thanksgiving:  family, friends and food.

Start Early: While the early bird might catch the worm, the early Thanksgiving shopper will catch all of the best deals. Plan your menu now and then watch for sales on necessary ingredients over the next few weeks. Almost every item on a traditional Thanksgiving menu will be on sale at some point in the month of November.  To increase your savings, match a manufacturer coupon with a store sale whenever possible (Look for Monica’s post tomorrow detailing the best Thanksgiving shopping deals this week!).

Be Flexible: If you have crescent rolls on your menu, but you find dinner rolls on sale at a rock bottom price, think about modifying your menu. By adjusting your menu to match sales, you maximize your potential savings.

Go Potluck-style: Don’t be afraid to give your guests assignments. Check to see if any of your attendees have traditional family dishes they are accustomed to and ask them to provide those. If you have guests attending that believe Ramen noodles and PB&J are culinary masterpieces, assign them paper plates or other paper products.  Include drinks when making assignments, or inform them you will have water and lemonade, and they can provide additional beverages if they prefer. If you have enough guests contributing, you might be able to get away with only providing the turkey.

Don’t Go Overboard: While many believe leftovers are the best part of a big turkey dinner, watching food go to waste is not. Be realistic when planning your menu.  If you have 8 guests coming, cooking 4 pies is unnecessary, regardless of how delicious they are. One pound of pre-cooked turkey should feed the average adult appetite. Once cooked and carved, each guest would receive about a half pound of turkey to enjoy.

Get Creative: Don’t waste money on expensive décor. Utilizing some of what nature provides for free, you can make your own centerpieces by throwing a few pine cones and acorns into a bowl or vase.  Have your children help by crafting place mats or name tags for your guests, or hang some of their Thanksgiving art from school to create a festive atmosphere.

Plan Ahead: Stock up for next year’s Thanksgiving feast by hitting up the after Thanksgiving sales this year. Score Thanksgiving items such as decorative plates, table cloths or napkins at a fraction of their original prices.


  • These are all good ideas on being frugal during Thanksgiving. Especially the pot-luck tip. It truly can save a lot of money!

  • Fantastic ideas I especially like the idea about having others each take a assignment and bring a dish or such. Also don’t forget to assign someone to watching the kids that is a job in it’s self. It helps to have a small craft or something to entertain the kids until the meal is ready.

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