How to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget

Nov 22, 2017Reading Time: 4 min

Kudos for deciding to host that annual Thanksgiving dinner or huge family get-together. Give yourself a pat on the back and then take a deep breath because as we all know that it’s a huge undertaking—it’s a costly one as well. Along with all the warmth and good cheer, there will likely be a string of expenses to take care of that will add up to stress you incredibly out later on.

From the actual turkey and its trimmings to everything else in between, celebrating one of the nation’s most cherished holidays often gets pretty taxing on the bank accounts. There’s no need to worry though because with just a little bit planning and prepping -- as well as some super smart decisions -- it can be simple to save while even on a tight budget—easy as pumpkin pie in fact.

Whether you’re the Pinterest perfect obsessed host or more of the hands-off type, there are tons of tips and tricks for presenting a truly Instagram-able meal and party that everyone will be ranting and raving about after the dishes have been cleaned.

Here’s some expert advice courtesy of for hosting the best Thanksgiving even on a budget. 

Never be afraid to seek help and go for potluck

Attempting to be the holiday hero by tackling the entire Thanksgiving menu alone? Don’t mess with the joyful cheer and spirit of the holidays because at its core, it’s good to know that the holiday really is a potluck-style holiday at heart.

Ask for help, accept the lending hands, and get everyone involved as a way to cover all the extra essentials (not to mention share a bit of the heavy costs)! The power of potluck is that it divides up the hard work and also allows friends and family to share different holiday traditions

Strategize that grocery shopping list

Grocery stores themselves have a boatload of strategies in place solely to get customers to buy more and spend more. So why not up your game and be strategic as well-- with your grocery shopping by paying close attention to all holiday sales and bargains while capitalizing on their efforts to get your attention. Though it might mean a couple of stops, you’ll definitely be saving in the long run.

In addition, you can easily be the smartest of shoppers with the help of some handy dandy apps created to help you save. There are tons of tools these days available to help you not only cook but plan for big meals like holiday dinners. Try the Thanksgiving Calculator—a super fantastic resource for figuring out how much food you’ll actually need to feed. It’ll also help you avoid wasting money on uneaten food.


Since there’s already so many things for you to cover on Thanksgiving: the turkey, dressing, and other tasty treats, don't tackle the alcohol on your own. Instead tell your guest to BYOB so they can have their favorite cocktail without adding to your expenses. 

Decorate with what you already have

Don’t bust that budget out on mere decorations. Often times, Thanksgiving-themed decorations can be a more than slippery slope, as once you start dressing up that room, you’ll likely just keep going and going until pure perfection is reached.

To avoid the hassle, the headache, and the overuse of funds, simply purchase a few quality, versatile pieces that can be taken out each year (i.e. steer clear of themed napkins, fake leaves, or those cheap silk centerpieces).

Opt for making good use of what Mother Nature already offers, such as herbs, decorative gourds, dried grasses, pine cones, baby pumpkins, and, of course, natural light. Nothing is more festive and beautiful than a candlelit room.

Remember, even a tiny bit of decorations can go on to create a clean and sophisticated look that won’t end up cluttering up the space and having guests feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, a little goes a long long way. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hosting!