Hosting a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving

Nov 12, 2017

The average Thanksgiving dinner can set back a host at least $50. How can you keep it budget friendly AND less stressful? 

Think smaller.

If you ask anyone at the office on post-turkey Monday how Thanksgiving was, you’re likely to hear a common theme – “I ate way too much.” Cut back on the size of your plates to save money on food and calories consumed.  

Buy frozen.

The average cost of a fresh 16-pound turkey usually sits around $22-$25 per bird. Frozen turkeys generally cost a fraction of that amount. Last year, the average frozen turkey cost about $1.15 per pound. Just remember to give yourself enough time to thaw a frozen turkey – at least 2 or 3 days.

Photo of Thanksgiving Food . 

Look for "free" birds.

Many major retailers offer free turkeys if you spend over a certain amount on other items within a given timeframe. Check with your local grocer for details. (The Pennyhoarder detailed who offered what in 2016.) 

Plan & stockpile early.

As with most things in life, it pays to think ahead. Start browsing sales and discount racks now for things that you know you will need down the road, especially canned items or products that can be frozen. 

Make it a potluck.

Contract the work out. Ask your guests to pitch in and bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert. In the spirit of America – make it competitive! Turn their work into a game by asking guests to vote for their favorite dish. 

Go in together.

Ask around at work or in your neighborhood to see if anyone would be interested in going in on a bulk or wholesale shopping trip. Often the prices at Costco or Sam’s Club can be significantly cheaper, but the quantities are also greater. Splitting items makes your fridge more manageable and can be a well-needed break for your holiday spending budget.