Thanksgiving is known as a joyous time of the year that brings together family and friends as they feast and give thanks for the things they treasure. It’s also known as the kick-off to the holiday season, leading into Christmas shopping and all the excess that comes along with the holidays. The last few months of the year are expensive times that can bust even the most careful budget.
If you happen to be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on October 13th, you could be in for a big bill. Social pressure may push you beyond your budget; everyone wants to be the host with the most. According to Turkey Farmers of Canada, 3.1 million turkeys were sold for Thanksgiving 2012. Everyone’s doing it.
But you don’t need to break the bank to host a memorable dinner with your loved ones. Consolidated Credit has five tips on how you can save money on Thanksgiving, and gently ease your way into the expensive holiday season.
- Get started early– Procrastination is never a good thing when planning an event, and when it comes to Thanksgiving, it can actually cost you. AllRecipes.com says a turkey will take up 40 per cent of your dinner budget, so it’s the best place to start when trying to cut costs. Keep an eye on sales and buy a frozen turkey early, long before Thanksgiving makes them hot commodities. Just remember to give it plenty of time to thaw – one day in the fridge for every five pounds.
- Keep it simple – Sure you want to wow your guests, but trying out fancy dishes will drive up costs and could wind up in a culinary disaster if it’s outside of your kitchen prowess. The staples – potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, et al. – are relatively inexpensive. There’s no need to go gourmet; your guests will expect the classics.
- BYOS – Most of your guests will be able to sympathize with the amount of time, energy, and money that you will be sinking into Thanksgiving. They will have no problem with a “Bring Your Own Sides” request. Don’t ask for specifics; tell them to bring the vegetables, starches, and dessert that will compliment your bird. Not only will this cut down on time and money, but it’ll also bring variety to your table.
- DIY decorating – You may be tempted to spend money to transform your dining room into a mythical pilgrim banquet from days-gone-by. Well here’s the good news. They didn’t have home dÃ©cor stores hundreds of years ago. Decorations that we associate with thanksgiving can all be found in your backyard. Forage for acorns, willow branches, and pinecones, and arrange them in a vase. If the fallen leaves happen to be particularly golden, throw them in as well.
- Make the most of it – Hang on to your leftovers and look up recipes for soups, stir-fry’s, and sandwiches. Forget about wasting money on lunches at work, and bring the most immaculate brown-bag lunch that will make your coworkers jealous.
At the end of the day, remember that any holiday is more about family and friends than material goods and dazzling meals. Nobody is keeping score. Ratchet down the pressure and take the time to appreciate everything you have around you.