Turkey Day is just around the corner! If you woke up this morning and realized you haven’t bought flights or a turkey, your Halloween decorations are still up, and your checking account is looking slim, this article is for you!
Here are our Thanksgiving money-saving tips, fresh from the deep-fryer (shoot, who set my yard on fire?).
Save on Thanksgiving Travel
Setting aside the massive food coma that we all secretly love, the best part of Thanksgiving is spending time with family and friends. This means, for many of us, Thanksgiving dinner involves driving, flying, or jet-packing home. And, of course, traveling in a time of COVID and skyrocketing gas prices can get expensive.
Let’s get this advice out of the way early: consider not traveling. If you aren’t quite burned out on the Zoom calls yet, it’s not too difficult to set up a game night or conversation from afar. This is a cheaper, and safer, way to check in with family this holiday.
Set up your own Thanksgiving locally for other friends and neighbors who won’t be with family. This can become a wonderful tradition, build stronger relationships close to home, and save you (and your friends) loads of cash on flights and air bnbs each year.
If you must travel for your turkey, there are ways (yes, even this late in the day) to save money. If you can be flexible on your flight dates, try to avoid flying on Wednesday or Sunday. Everyone is flying on Wednesday and Sunday. Don’t follow the crowd. Be your own (money savvy) butterfly. Flying out on the day itself is notoriously cheap, if you can swing it. Try apps like SkyScanner to find the cheapest option for you. Bonus tip: pack light! No checked bag means simpler travel and fewer fees. Stuff a few tops and some pants in your backpack to save $30+ each way.
Save Money on Thanksgiving Dinner
Whether you’re whipping up dinner yourself or relying on ready-to-eat feasts, Thanksgiving dinner can get pricey. One way to keep costs down—keep your menu simple. Instead of five or six side dishes with their own lists of ingredients to buy, make a bigger batch of three all-time favorites. Ask your guests to contribute sides, drinks, and dessert. And think before you buy the biggest bird in the store—are you actually going to eat it? Do you want to be drowning in turkey sandwiches for a week? Making more than your guests can eat is an easy way to waste food, and your money.
Save Money on Decorating
First of all, take down your Halloween decorations.
Second, don’t you dare step foot in Hobby Lobby.
You don’t need to spend a wad of cash on fancy store-bought pumpkins and plastic leaves. You also don’t need to spend hours with a glue gun and Cricut stickers to make your home warm and welcoming for Thanksgiving dinner.
Make the food your centerpiece. Guests are coming for food, for family, for comfortable conversation, and maybe a football game. Don’t over-think the Thanksgiving decorations. Start by using what you already have. Pull out any orange and red and yellow blankets, table cloths, table runners, or streamers you have lying around the house. Stack a few on-sale gourds and pumpkins on the side tables. Use your existing dishes for an eclectic setting, or ask your fanciest friend to contribute some plates. Sprinkle a few (clean) leaves from the yard around. Set out something to snack on while you wait for dinner, and make sure your space is laid out for conversation.
If you feel the urge to get crafty and go the extra decoration mile, check out these ideas for DIY Thanksgiving décor. Or, if you’re trying to go high-table fancy, this article has some budget-friendly tips.
Having a Happy Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a drain on your wallet. Whatever your decorations are, however, great (or terrible) your green bean casserole, it’s the people you’re with that make Thanksgiving special.