Hosting 101: How to Save Money on Your Thanksgiving Celebration


Need to figure out how to save some money on your Thanksgiving dinner this year? Today’s guest post has some excellent tips! 

Thanksgiving is a time when family gets together to break bread and look back on the year as they express their thanks. Though it’s a great celebration and brings the family closer together, the hosting and cooking can cost you a pretty penny.

Thanksgiving involves more than just cooking a turkey–a good host also keeps in mind dietary needs (allergies), whips up savory dishes and appetizers and creates an ambiance for her/his guests. All of this can wage war on your month’s wages, so is there a way to save on your Thanksgiving celebrations? Indeed, there is. If you’re looking to save some green this holiday season, here are seven ways you can slash your Thanksgiving spending in half.

Make A List

If you’ve seen the show Extreme Couponing, you know the best way to save major green on your groceries is to make a list. If you don’t have a list, you may end up buying more than you need. Have everything you’re going to cook in mind, break down the ingredients and add them to your list. Then, check your pantry if you already have some of the ingredients on the list. You’d be surprised how much you can spend on items you didn’t know you already had. Remember, organization is key–pretty much a universal rule when it comes to finances.

Look for Coupons

You have a month to prep, so why not start looking for coupons now? If you also want to make a healthy, clean thanksgiving dinner, be aware that many organic stores don’t advertise as much as the bigger chains, this is why it’s exceptionally important to be on the lookout for promos. You may think there aren’t discounts on free-range turkeys, but you’d be surprised if you just looked.

Limit Your Options

Don’t overdo your Thanksgiving feast. There’s no point in having an assortment of meats–just stick to one, turkey. Turkey is generally reasonably priced (yes, even free range) and can feed 10 to 15 people. For vegetarians, a healthy, yet cheap option is a tofurkey.

Manage Your Side Dishes

Sometimes, it’s cheaper to make a bowl of mashed potatoes than it is to make a seven layer bean dip. By managing your side dishes (i.e. not overdoing it), not only will you be able to save a few bucks, but your family will thank you by sticking to the classics.

Bring Your Own Dish

To make it more interactive and cheap, why not ask your family members to bring their own dish? Of course, you’d have the essentials (turkey and a couple side dishes), but by having others bring a few of their signature creations, you’ll be able to save some green and cut down on some major cooking time.


Hosting is not just about the food, it’s also about the ambiance. Thanksgiving dinners don’t usually require a lot of decorations, but if you just have to have your orange and reds, why not ask the kids to help you make decorations out of construction paper and art materials? Not only is it a cheaper alternative than going to a holiday store (save on gas too), it also helps kids keep busy while they wait for the turkey.

Of course, if you want to also set up ambiance outside (for kids), you may want to consider purchasing outdoor lights to give your yard an autumn wonderland effect. It’s usually cheaper to buy online, so definitely check out to search for deals and ideas.


If you have family and friends coming in from around town, why not save them the cost of driving to your house and ask if they want to carpool? You can draft up a route on your preferred online maps website and find the most fuel efficient way from your house, to theirs, and back.

Yes, sometimes, hosting a Thanksgiving celebration can set you back a few hundred dollars, but by following these tips, you’ll still be able to provide your guests with a wonderful festivity without skimping on the trimmings (or the mashed potatoes).