How to Be Frugal with Your Money and Time at Thanksgiving

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

It’s no question that hosting a Thanksgiving celebration is a huge undertaking. It requires time, effort, organization, coordination – and money. There’s very specific food, decor, seating and serving ware to procure to host a houseful of people for this holiday. You can control the costs and time-commitment associated with hosting Thanksgiving while ensuring everyone has a memorable celebration of togetherness and thankfulness. Here how:

You don’t have to do it all yourself

Chances are, your hands are full on any given day, and the fourth Thursday of November is no exception. By leveraging your own organizational skills and the willingness of your guests to contribute, however, you can host a phenomenal – and affordable – celebration.

Guests rarely expect to receive without giving. It’s actually a compliment to ask each of your guests to contribute to the celebration, so don’t hesitate to get everyone involved to some degree!

Ask for favorite dish contributions from guests – Find out if your guests have a Thanksgiving specialty they’d like to bring. If they do, tell them the number of guests so they can prepare an appropriate quantity.

Borrow equipment – If you don’t plan to make entertaining on a big scale a regular thing and you don’t already own all the chairs, tables, serving ware and cooking equipment you need to pull off Thanksgiving, borrow what you need from those you’ve invited. It’s a great way for those who don’t cook to contribute to the cause.

Delegate responsibilities – It’s amazing how much can be accomplished by an organized crew of willing helpers. Before the big day, ask those guests who haven’t committed to bringing a dish or equipment to pitch in with specific tasks like:

  • Making a centerpiece / decor
  • Setting the table
  • Setting out appetizers
  • Pouring wine/serving beverages
  • Bringing dishes to the table
  • Clearing dishes from the table
  • Serving dessert
  • Washing dishes
  • Cleaning up

By assigning tasks beforehand, no one works the day away without a chance to socialize, no one gets away without contributing and everything gets done.

Copious planning saves time and money

Plan every detail – The best celebrations come together as a result of detailed planning. When it comes to being frugal with your money and time, planning is key to avoid last minute inconvenience or unnecessary expense. Take the time to compile comprehensive lists to keep track of what’s needed. Ideally, you can start several weeks before Turkey Day to:

  • Compile your guest list
  • Make a complete menu based upon number of guests. Here’s a helpful guide to assist you with proper quantities.
  • Determine what’s being provided by guests and what you’re responsible for making / buying. In lieu of a prepared dish, ask guests to bring a bottle of wine or spirits for cocktails.
  • Take inventory of what you need (to ensure you have all you need and don’t waste money buying yet another unnecessary container of pumpkin pie spice) and make a shopping list.
  • Schedule your shopping trip.
  • Break down individual tasks into doable pieces and schedule time to perform them in time for Thanksgiving.

Shop wisely – Your carefully planned meal and shopping list will help you avoid impulse purchases so stick to your list. Most of what you’ll need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal will be on sale throughout the weeks before the day. Adapt your menu and shop according to those sales to maximize your savings.

The key to being frugal with your money and your time at Thanksgiving is planning. A well-planned celebration can go off without breaking the bank or an emotional breakdown.

How are you frugal with your money and time at Thanksgiving?

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