Hosting a Thanksgiving feast can get expensive quickly. Between food, drinks and utensils, you could easily spend hundreds of dollars for just a dozen or so guests. Don’t spend more than necessary. Use these five tips to cut costs so you can have a fun holiday without draining your bank account.
1. Avoid Disposable Plates and Utensils
Disposable plates and utensils will make it easier for you to clean up after dinner, but they will also add to the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Even if you buy the cheapest stuff possible, you are going to spend at least $20 on disposable items. You already have plates and silverware in your kitchen, so use them and save your money for something else. If you must use disposable items, purchase them at the Dollar Store.
2. Focus on Vegetables
Depending on your family tradition, a turkey or ham probably plays the starring role at Thanksgiving. While delicious, these are also the most expensive foods in your feast. Since most groceries charge by the pound, you can save money by purchasing a smaller ham or bird. No one will go hungry as long as you include plenty of side items. Vegetables are almost always cheaper than meat.
3. Make Your Own Veggie and Cheese Trays
When you buy prepared veggie trays, you are paying someone else to do a small amount of work for you. Instead, cut the vegetables on your own. It tastes the same but costs less. Besides, it only takes a few minutes to chop vegetables. If you feel pressed for time, you can always recruit help in the kitchen.
4. Go Generic
Name brand foods almost always cost more than their generic alternatives. Many times, though, there isn’t a significant difference in flavor. A little research can go a long way when buying generic products. Read some reviews to help you decide which ones taste as good or better than the brand-name versions.
5. Have a Potluck
You don’t have to pay for the whole Thanksgiving feast by yourself. Most of your guests understand that hosting is a big commitment that takes a lot of time and money. Since they know that, they are happy to contribute. As long as you plan ahead, you won’t get a lot of repeat dishes. If possible, use social media or email to coordinate with your friends and relatives. That way, you’ll have plenty of diverse dishes for a wonderful meal.
6. Shop Ahead
Take advantage of Thanksgiving sales leading up to the big feast. Purchase canned and non-perishable items weeks before Thanksgiving, and shop around for the best deals on your turkey. Oftentimes stores will offer free or deeply discounted turkeys with a large purchase.
If you’re looking for ways to save money this year, these six tips will help you cut the cost of hosting a Thanksgiving celebration. You can use that money to pay down debt, increase your savings or splurge on Christmas presents!