Thanksgiving on a Budget
Thanksgiving is the time of year when we get to reflect on what we are truly grateful for and count our blessings. But it can also be a time of stress and worry. With just a little bit of forethought and pre-planning, you can send stress and worry packing. If you want to know how to host Thanksgiving on a budget, check out these easy and effective tips and tricks.
Make A Plan
The first thing to do is set your budget, as this is probably the most important step in your planning phase. Once you have a budget in place, it is time to plan your menu. Keep your menu simple; more is not always better. A simple traditional meal made from scratch is often more elegant than a meal with an overwhelming amount of side dishes. Spend some time planning your menu and researching your recipes. Look for things that are easy to prepare, can be prepared ahead of time, and have a mix of common ingredients.
Once you have planned your menu, researched your ingredients, and compiled a shopping list, check your pantry to make sure you are not buying ingredients you already have. Also, check your spice cabinet. Spices are expensive and many times bought for the preparation of a particular dish and then put in the cabinet and forgotten. In the weeks leading up to your Thanksgiving on a budget, you will start to see the grocery stores displaying ingredients that are common to many traditional Thanksgiving dishes and putting them on sale. If you see something you will need, go ahead and buy it while it is on sale. By spreading the cost of your dinner out over several weeks, you can minimize the impact on your budget.
Accept Help and Go Potluck
Do not be shy about asking some (or all) of your guests to bring something. Most people like to contribute, so if they ask what they can bring, be ready to tell them. Often times, they will have something special to bring that can enhance your meal. In addition, many times, guests have a side dish that is special and traditional to each of them that they want to have and share; allowing for that will increase their enjoyment.
Make It BYOB
One of the biggest budget busters when entertaining any crowd is alcohol. It is not only expensive, but it also seems to go fast when everyone is in a festive mood. One of the ways you can control your beverage budget is to ask a few guests to bring a bottle or two of their favorite wine. That gives the non-cooks a simple way to participate in the meal. No one likes to show up empty-handed!
Keep Decorations Simple
Decorating your home for the holidays always helps provide a warm and festive environment to entertain. The problem is that it can be very expensive to buy decorations to achieve the look you want. To make your Thanksgiving table look decorative, check out a store like Dollar Tree. You can get lovely Thanksgiving paper plates (which means fewer dishes to wash), napkins, and other festive holiday decorations. Discount stores are also a great place to get inexpensive serving platters and utensils, storage containers (for leftovers), mugs, and wine glasses. At the thrift store, you can get cloth tablecloths and napkins, decorative table runners, pretty vases, and other fall-themed decorations. For just a few dollars, you can make your home look Thanksgiving ready.
Do not let the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner keep you from doing it or enjoying this holiday with friends and family. It is very possible to have a memorable holiday and stay within your budget just by following these simple tips.