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!