Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so if you feel your anxiety rising thinking about how much money you will spend, you're not alone. The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to reflect on the things we are grateful for. But holidays can also be stressful, especially when money is tight. Thankfully, hosting a beautiful dinner without breaking the bank is possible. Here are five tips for staying on budget this Thanksgiving.
1. Determine Your Budget
The most crucial step is to determine a realistic budget for your holiday. How much of your monthly budget can you afford to spend on holiday gatherings? You will need to include food, drinks, decorations, and travel. Remember that Thanksgiving is often the start of a long marathon of holiday festivities as December and New Year are right around the corner. Once you know your budget, you can start saving and buying things early to spread your spending throughout the month.
2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
An essential part of staying on budget is knowing when to ask for help. Whether you are the host or an attendee, think of ways you and your family can split the costs of the gathering. Encourage others to bring dishes, decorations, or entertainment. Spreading out the expenses amongst everyone in attendance will ensure that the financial burden does not fall on one person.
3. Search Your Pantry
Create a list of all the items you will need to make the recipes you will be cooking. Then, take a minute to go through your pantry before you make a trip to the grocery store. Many of the ingredients that go into a Thanksgiving dinner are common cooking goods that most households have year-round. You might be surprised by what you already have in your pantry. Check in with your attendees to see if they have an ingredient you are missing.
4. Shop Smart
Once you have your final list, look for ways to save on the items you need to purchase. Local grocers and big chain stores often have deals, coupons, and savings around the holidays. Compare different brands' prices to ensure you get the best deal on every item in your cart. You can also share common ingredients with other family members to avoid everyone buying the same ingredients over and over. Avoid the temptation to add last-minute items that grab your eye in the store.
If you cook the turkey, the earlier you buy your bird, the better. If you do not have the freezer space to store a turkey for weeks in advance, see if anyone in your family has some space to spare.
5. DIY Décor and Dinnerware
Look for items at local second-hand and thrift stores if you are decorating or creating a tablescape for the holiday. You would be amazed at the holiday decorations that end up discarded year to year. You can also often find second-hand dinnerware at extremely low prices.
You can still enjoy a tasty, cozy Thanksgiving meal while staying on budget. Keep it simple and focus on giving thanks for the people in your life.