The cost of hosting Thanksgiving adds up quickly. According to a survey by Lending Tree it costs on average $334 to host Thanksgiving, or about $31 / person and takes 11 hours of time to prep. If this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving you may also need to buy additional kitchen tools and serving trays. The food, kitchen tools, and decoration costs all add up. Additionally, preparing the menu, shopping and cleaning take up a lot of time. Planning ahead will reduce the cost of hosting Thanksgiving and reduce the planning time. Here are ideas to save money and time hosting Thanksgiving in 2019.
Save Money on Thanksgiving Food
The easiest way to save money on Thanksgiving food is to not prep the entire meal yourself. Create a menu and when people ask what they should bring let them know which dishes are an option. If you already have enough food, ask someone to bring drinks, paper towels or paper plates.
Create a Thanksgiving Menu – And Stick To It
By creating a menu for Thanksgiving dinner and sticking to it you’re ensuring you won’t buy ingredients you won’t use. Don’t cook too much food either. While food can always be eaten as leftovers, if you don’t eat it in time it’ll go to waste.
Save Money on the Ingredients
The turkey will be the most expensive food item. To save money on the turkey and all other ingredients look for store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Some grocery stores even have turkey points which you can collect throughout the Fall and redeem for a turkey during Thanksgiving. It is cheaper to buy a frozen turkey than a fresh turkey. Don’t forget for every four pounds of turkey it takes a full day to defrost. You’ll need to take the turkey out of the freezer days before Thanksgiving. Plan ahead! And, if you forget here’s a backup plan for how to cook a frozen turkey.
Save Money on Thanksgiving Kitchen Items
You’ve now figured out what to make, but do you have all of the kitchen tools required? Hosting Thanksgiving is a big undertaking and you will need more kitchen items than usual to cook and serve the full dinner. In addition to the usual cookware, there are kitchen tools you rarely use that you’ll need for Thanksgiving. This includes items like a turkey roaster, baster set, cooking thermometer, potato masher, baster set, turkey lifters, chopper, zester, apple peeler, pie tins, drying mat, flavor injector, cooking twine, and gravy strainer.
Wow, that’s a lot! And that doesn’t include the usual items like serving bowls, serving utensils, measuring cups, mixing bowls and a mixer. You can always go to a store and buy these items but it adds up! Don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to save money here.
Borrow Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools from Friends
First, see what kitchen tools you can borrow from friends and family. Is anyone coming over early to help and they can bring a few items with them? Are any friends not hosting Thanksgiving that have some of the items above and will let you borrow them?
Scour Local Estate Sales for Kitchen Tools and Cookware
You can find deals on cookware, serving items and more at estate sales. An estate sale usually happens when there is a death and the family is trying to sell almost everything in the house before putting the house on the market. Estate sales are a great place to find complete sets of holiday table decorations, cookware and high end decorations as the family is trying to sell most of the stuff in the estate all at once.
To find local estate sales, enter the town + estate sale into Google. If you live in a city, you may have more success looking at close suburbs. This is also a great time to buy furniture or other household items you still need for your home.
Look For Kitchen Tools and Cookware on Craigslist and LetGo
Often when people are about to move they will try to get rid of stuff to make their move easier. When it’ll cost more to ship something than buy something new they will want to get rid of it. Looking for kitchen tools, cookware and other kitchen items at moving sales is a great opportunity to spend less acquiring these items. Since fewer people move in the winter the best time to look for moving sales are in the spring and fall. But, you still may find a decent selection in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
Use Coupons When Buying Items for Hosting Thanksgiving
When you must buy an item look for coupons and deals. The deals won’t be as good as after the holidays but you can still find 10% or 20% off the store coupons. Bed, Bath and Beyond always has 20% off coupons. Bed, Bath & Beyond usually accepts coupons that have expired as well. For higher end kitchen items Bloomingdales Home has Friend & Family sales (it’s free to become a loyalist). However, deals on the kitchen items you need may be better on Black Friday or Cyber Monday so it’s worth holding out if you can.
Ask for Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools on your Wedding Registry
Today, 66% of married couples have lived together before they walked down the aisle according to the NCBI. When you’ve already lived together there are less things you need from a traditional wedding registry. If you already have most of the household basics, use this opportunity ask for kitchen tools you need to host holidays. While this may be too late for this year, this will help you host Thanksgiving in the future.
DIY Thanksgiving Decorations To Save Money
Are you crafty? The best way to spend less on Thanksgiving decorations is to do it yourself! You can make DIY Thanksgiving decorations for centerpieces, table decor, outdoor decor and more. DIY Thanksgiving table decorations that are cheap include fruit displays (that you can eat later!), candles, repurposing fake pumpkins from Halloween, pine cone wreaths and pumpkin pie place cards.
Look for additional inspiration for DIY Thanksgiving Decorations on Pinterest.
Budget Your Money and Time Wisely
Spending an average of $334 and 11 hours to prep to host Thanksgiving is a lot of money and time. It’s easy to overspend during the holidays on food, decorations, kitchen items and gifts. Create a budget for how much you want to spend hosting Thanksgiving and stick to it. Don’t be shy to let people know what food or drink they can bring over when they volunteer.
Balancing all of the shopping in addition to work, holiday parties and other events makes time really tight. Be mindful of how much time you spend researching what you want to buy, looking for deals and actually shopping. Consider hiring a cleaning service. Follow this hosting Thanksgiving checklist to minimize planning time and reduce the stress of planning the day. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and enjoy the season. It’d be better to spend a little more money and be happy than save a little more but miss out on all of the fun.
What are ways you’ve saved money on hosting Thanksgiving?