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Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Don't Go All Out on Decorations

Now that November is here, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. If you want to host your family and friends for Thanksgiving but don’t have an ample amount of money to spend, it is possible to make Thanksgiving dinner on a smaller budget. By making the right decisions for food and decorations, you can keep costs down and focus on spending time with loved ones.

Don’t Go All Out on Decorations

No matter how well you save money on Thanksgiving, the expenses for Thanksgiving dinner are going to be high if you’re cooking for numerous guests. While it’s important to make your home look appealing to your guests, a little goes a long way with seasonal decor. If you already have leftover decorations from previous years, don’t hesitate to use these items again. Doing so will allow you to save a substantial sum of money that could be better used elsewhere. You can also think about making your own decorations to save money. There are many online guides for creating your own decorations that you can reference. Buying the materials separately will likely be more affordable than purchasing pre-made decorations.

Shop Smart for Thanksgiving Dinner

A sure-fire way to make Thanksgiving dinner on a smaller budget is to shop smart. For one, it’s essential that you don’t buy ingredients that you already have in your kitchen cupboards. Once you’ve selected the recipes that you’re going to be preparing, make sure that you look through your kitchen cabinets to make a checklist of any ingredients that you don’t have. You might be surprised to find that half of the ingredients in a recipe are already in your pantry.

If you’re going with the tried and true Thanksgiving turkey for your main entree, you can often save money by purchasing a store-brand turkey. These turkeys will cost much less, but your guests won’t notice! Another great way to shop smart for Thanksgiving is to purchase ingredients for food items that you can make on your own. You can consider making your own chicken stock, breadcrumbs, and even whipped cream. Doing so will be significantly cheaper than buying branded whipped cream or pre-packaged breadcrumbs.

When you’re shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s important that you stick to your list. While it’s easy to impulse buy when shopping at the grocery store, doing so can cause your bill to increase substantially. While you’re out shopping, think about buying some canned goods and frozen foods to keep costs down. Frozen foods almost always cost less than their fresh alternatives.

Consider Exploring Wholesale Clubs and Outlets

Wholesale clubs and outlets can be great places to score deals during the holiday season. These stores often provide higher discounts and better prices and have a mix of on-brand and generic products. If you buy in bulk, the items will be much more affordable and will last until well after Thanksgiving.

Look for Decoration Ideas on Pinterest

If you want simple decoration ideas that won’t break the bank, Pinterest is a great place to search for inspiration. You’ll be provided with hundreds of images that can serve as the outlines for your decor. Once you’ve found some great ideas that you can make on your own, go to craft stores and dollar stores to purchase the items that are needed to make these accessories. The costs will be affordable and should allow you to save an ample amount of money on your Thanksgiving decor.


Even the best laid plans can go awry. Be sure to keep funds set aside for emergencies like unexpected medical or sudden, but critical home repairs that are common in the winter months. If you do find yourself in immediate need of money and don’t have the savings to cover the expense, short-term loans may help while you get your finances back on track. Online loans are easy to apply for, and if approved, you may get your money in as soon as one business day.  

Thanksgiving is the perfect day for spending time with friends and family. With these tips and guidelines in mind, you’ll be able to make Thanksgiving dinner without depleting your bank account.