Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Ideas

I've received lots of questions lately on how to have a frugal Thanksgiving and I've come to a conclusion.

You're going to blow your regular budget on Thanksgiving.

It's a time where you're going to buy more than you normally would. Usually we are feeding a crowd or making special recipes with ingredients that we wouldn't normally buy. But there are still a few practical things we can do to help.

  • Take a poll. Ask your family what they want on their Thanksgiving table. I think you'll be surprised. We found out that the pineapple jello salad that great grandma used to make...well...nobody really likes it. So I'm not making it anymore. Or the sweet potato casserole? Only one person wanted it (sorry Lisa) so I'm not going make it. I just saved myself the cost of getting the ingredients for things that nobody really wanted to eat.

  • Split the work. Are you having a gathering with extended family? Why do you have to make the whole meal? Someone can bring a pie, someone else could bring a vegetable dish, another person could bring an appetizer. That saves you time, money and stress.

  • Take It Easy. Your table doesn't have to be perfectly decorated. You're house doesn't have to be spotless. People are there for the food and the company. Most aren't comparing you to Martha Stewart so no need killing yourself trying to impress. Take your regular dinner table up a notch with a festive tablecloth, sweep the kitchen floor...don't mop. You will survive and they most likely won't even notice.

  • Make Ahead. I decided I didn't want the stress and the rush of cooking my meal all day only to fall exhaustedly into my chair at the Thanksgiving table, unable to enjoy the bounty. I found directions on how to cook my turkey the day before, make ahead mashed potatoes, crockpot stuffing, rolls and pies will be made the day before and even the table can be set the night before. I'm going to have the most relaxed Thanksgiving ever! It will be like being my own guest.

So those are just a few ideas to help minimize cost and stress. Hope they help!


jennie said...

i usually try to avoid walmart, but in a pinch or to save a ton of money, you could always order their $20 thanksgiving dinner that serves 8, and supplement with family favorites not already included.

Gypsy Trader said...

No worries Gayle, I seem to have outgrown the modern marshmallow and the sweet potato casserole just isn't the same.

Camille said...

I ended up needing to make Thanksgiving dinner and forgot to plan ahead in my budget so we just decided to use what we have in the house.

We already have a turkey (got it on sale a few weeks ago), pumpkin, yams, broth, and green beans. I have broth in the freezer and can whip up bread to make stuffing. I'll make home made cream soup for green bean casserole and just put bread crumbs on top. If we hadn't bought a turkey, I would've served the chicken in my freezer.

Who says you have to go "traditional"? :-)

Kim said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one too exhausted to enjoy the feast! I too, am going to change that! Starting with the "no mopping" rule...very liberating!

Maria said...

Great tips Gayle!

Chef Owings said...

I cook all the food for 50-75.I spread it out over 6 months. I buy something each week for around $5.My grown kids and grandkids come in off and on the 2 mos before and help prepare dishes that can go in the mother and daughters that can't help cook those two months get dish duty and clean up. I get all those PLAN overs( not just left overs) to make nice meals thru New Years Eve without facing stores or what to cook when running for the holidays.

Shirley said...

There is just hubby and I for dinner at our house. I bought a 23 pound turkey the other day for 23 cents a pound when I bought $50 groceries. After thawing out I cut it up yesterday. I saved the breast and 1 leg and 1 thigh for our T-day dinner. The rest went in the stockpot and simmered for hours. I ended up with over 2 gallons of turkey broth and a huge bowl of turkey meat. I plan on canning the broth with some of the turkey meat chopped up in it. We will have it later for soup base or dumplings, etc. I will freeze some of the leftovers for our Christmas dinner. For Christmas I'll add a few special dishes that we enjoy.

Emily said...

I made that very crockpot stuffing recipe and it was ROCKING!!! Everyone loved it and it was gone quick.

Rona's Home Page said...

We purchased the Thanksgiving Box from Angel Food for $36 and my church gave us a 15 pound turkey.
I truly appreciate the blessings!

Rhonda Parker said...

Sounds fabulous. I'm going to a Christmas party this weekend where I'm supposed to bring an appetizer. Do you have any ideas for frugal appetizers that most people would enjoy? Thanks!