5 Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving on a Tight Budget

It’s the reality of life…sometimes the budget is just a bit tighter than you would like as the holidays come upon you. It may be a surprise bill or a true emergency that sent you into a budget crisis, but it’s hard to picture the traditional holidays when your budget is tight. Don’t fret…so much of Thanksgiving can be found in the traditions of the day. You can still host a nice Thanksgiving, while not putting yourself into debt or running up those credit cards. These simple tips can help.

Go Full Traditional. If children’s stories are to be believed, the first Thanksgiving was hosted and the guests brought food to share. This idea can really help in your budget. Talk to your friends and family and let them know that you would like to share the Thanksgiving duties. My bet is they will be happy to pitch in, since everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving dish and really loves to make it. The bonus here is that your work load will be lighter, you will have more time to enjoy your company, and you will get to try dishes that you might otherwise not make. Assign sides if needed, or go a little crazy and let the chips fall where they may. Either way, when everyone at your table has been an essential part of the day…it’s lots more fun!


Do Something Unexpected. Technically, there is no rule about what you have to serve on Thanksgiving Day. This is especially true if your family does not always love the traditional fare. If you have children (and I know I do!) who sometimes eat a roll after you have spent hours slaving away over a traditional meal (a.single.damn.roll!), you may be in the perfect position to shake things up a bit. If your family has a favorite meal that is also kinder to your budget, go for it! You never know…your Thanksgiving Lasagna may be a big hit.

Don’t go Overboard. We are all guilty of making too much food on Thanksgiving, and, sure, we all love the leftovers (for a day, anyways!). But, keep your menu lighter so that you do not have as much food waste. You do not need to make every side that has ever been made, you don’t need so much pie that you all are in a sugar coma, and you can have a lighter meal that doesn’t require an immediate nap. It’s perfectly ok, and probably far healthier, to keep it light.

Plan an Activity for All. The best thing about Thanksgiving Day is often the quiet time with your family. A chance to shut down and enjoy each other’s company is a big perk. It doesn’t have to be about excess for you to enjoy this day. Plan a board game tournament, a football game, or a nature hike to get everyone out and moving. The focus doesn’t have to be on the food.


Be Truly Thankful. Sometimes it’s hard to see the silver lining when the pennies in your pocket don’t seem like enough. Realize that this day is about so much more than the elaborateness of the feast on your table. This is a day that you can connect, show kindness, and be grateful for all the things that you DO have. Take the time to do that, and regardless of the situation in your wallet, you will end the day feeling truly blessed.


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