Thanksgiving should be about spending time with family, not spending lots of money! It can seem expensive getting everyone together for a big meal. You can go all out and get all the trimmings and trappings of a traditional meal served on fine china with expensive wine, or you can celebrate the holiday a little more inexpensively following some of our expert tips below!
1. Plan Ahead
Like most financial situations, Thanksgiving is most easily paid for when you plan ahead. One way that we have seen families save for their holiday is creating a Thanksgiving Jar in PennyProfit. This way they are saving for the holiday over a few months period using their spare change, rather than having to scramble last minute to come up with the cash. This saving over time method can help relieve holiday stress. It also helps to have everyone in the family contributing to the jar as well so the costs are shared rather than burdening one person with them.
2. Ignore Pin Pressure
Tell me I’m not the only one who has browsed Pinterest for holiday ideas and felt as if everyone else on the entire internet is Martha Stewart and I am just Stuart Little, a tiny mouse with no decoration skills? Well, I’m here to tell you that over-decorating adds stress and cost to a Thanksgiving meal. Rather than feeling pressured to recreate every single cute thing you found online, pick 1 or 2 or your favorites to go with. Try and DIY with items around the house as well rather than going out and buying a ton of new crafting things. Remember that it’s just one day, and it can be special even if you don’t have everything in the house dressed to the nines.
This might seem obvious, but the benefits of couponing still apply when it’s Thanksgiving. Check out your local grocery store ads in the mail for awesome deals. A grocer around here is currently doing a “Spend $100, Get A Free Turkey” deal which saves about $30-$40 on your meal, depending on the size of turkey. You can also check out apps like IBotta for digital savings as well.
4. Grow Your Own Food
Now, this suggestion does take some prep work and is not a last minute money saver, however, growing your own food can help cut costs for the event and be very fulfilling as a hobby. You can grow your own potatoes, carrots, corn, and even your own turkey! Many people own chickens, and turkeys can be a great investment as well. Although you likely won’t save a ton cost-wise owning a turkey, you can spread the bills for it over six months of paychecks rather than one paycheck come Thanksgiving.
Note: this idea is not for the faint of heart. Don’t buy a turkey if you don’t actually want the adventure of owning a turkey!
5. Post-Holiday Sales
The price of turkeys drops absurdly low post-Thanksgiving. After turkey day, nobody buys turkeys. Well, why don’t you? If you have the space in your freezer, take advantage of these awesome sales (things like $.10 per lb. of turkey!) and keep a bird in your freezer for next year. This way you are saving money and don’t have to think about prep when the next holiday rolls around.
Bonus tip: If you don’t have the freezer space to keep a turkey for a year, taking advantage of those deals will make for some awesome turkey sandwiches over the next few weeks! Yay for cheap meals!
6. Break Tradition
For some households, turkey is the bread and butter of their Thanksgiving meal. For other families, the bread and butter is AMAZING and turkey is take it or leave it. If your family doesn’t like turkey, or gets sick of having it every year, switching up your protein to a different meat, or a vegetable protein like beans and rice, can be a real cost saver. If you want to stick in the poultry realm, chicken and Cornish hen is a really great alternative. Cornish hens are perfect if you’re only serving a couple people as well because they are far smaller than a turkey.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, remember that the holiday is about the people you spend it with, not what is on the table. If you like turkey, have turkey, but if you don’t then don’t feel the need to spend your money just for show. If decorating is your absolute most favorite thing in the world then decorate! However, if you find yourself stressed about presentation and spending needlessly because so and so on Instagram had a perfect looking Thanksgiving then don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Make the holiday what you want it to be and focus on what you have rather than what you lack.
Hopefully these tips help you in navigating a budget friendly thanksgiving! Let us know in the comments what hacks you have found helpful over the years!