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Celebrating Thanksgiving for Less

Thanksgiving is coming up, and while things may be different this year, many people will still spend this holiday eating a nice meal with their loved ones. However, holding a Thanksgiving dinner at your home can be a complex and expensive affair. If you’re planning on hosting this year, you’ll need to have a budget to avoid overspending.

Here are some tips that could help you celebrate Thanksgiving without spending too much money.

Know your Priorities

No matter what your budget is, you likely can’t afford absolutely everything. This means you’ll need to prioritize your spending. Some aspects of your Thanksgiving celebrations are likely more important to you than others. What matters to you will come down to personal preference as well as your own family traditions. Some people may care more about the main course than the dessert, for example, or they might be more focused on the décor than the appetizers, for instance. It’s about what matters to you.

Figure out what your priorities are and spend in these places while cutting some corners on the rest.

Set Your Budget

Once you know what matters to you, you can use this information to create a budget. Write down everything you think you’ll want or need for Thanksgiving, then estimate how much each item costs. When in doubt, give yourself a bit of extra space in your budget just in case.

You’ll then need to look at your budget and see if you can afford to buy what you’ve written on your list. If you can’t, you’ll need to make changes. You can start by reducing spending on items that are less important to you until you reach a reasonable number that works for you.

Track your Spending

As you shop, write down how much you spend on each item and compare it to your list of estimated costs. If you find yourself spending more than you expected, you’ll need to make some changes to the rest of your budget so you don’t overspend.

Give Yourself Time

If you give yourself some time to shop and prepare for Thanksgiving, it will be easier to look for deals, price match, and find the best options without paying top dollar. If you leave things until the last minute, you’ll likely end up paying more since your choices will be more limited.

Make What You Can

When it comes time for the meal, it’s almost always cheaper to cook or bake foods at home than it is to buy them already made. Of course, that’s often easier said than done, but it’s still a good idea to try to make whatever you can on your own and only buy ready-made dishes when necessary.

There are loads of places online to find recipes for just about everything, so you don’t need to be a master chef to create a tasty meal.

Accept Help from Others

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your home, it’s likely that at least a few of your guests will ask how they can help or if they can bring anything. Your first instinct may be to decline this help, but it might be a good idea to accept it. Not only will it help reduce your budget if friends and family can bring a few dishes or a special dessert, for instance, but it will also make the event feel more inclusive if they do. If everyone gets to help in whatever way is necessary, it becomes a more intimate celebration.

Most people who offer to help actually want to help, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking them up on their offer.

Keep Décor Simple

You’ve probably seen elaborate Thanksgiving decorations online and on TV, but try not to feel the pressure to replicate these in your own home. Not only can it be incredibly expensive to try and match these looks, but you can have a memorable dinner without breaking your budget (and stressing yourself out) by overdoing the décor.

Much like setting priorities is important when creating your budget, you’ll also want to prioritize where you spend money on décor. If certain items are important to you, you may want to spend a bit more on these items, but you don’t need to go all out. Dollar stores and other similar retailers often have great decorations at discounted prices. Check these stores out first.

Also, remember that it’s perfectly fine to reuse décor from previous years. Not everything needs to be brand new and, if you can reduce your costs on decorations, you’ll have more to spend in other areas.