This year is flying by and I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a great time to eat yummy food, relax, reflect, and spend quality time with family.
However, it can be extremely stressful if you’re hosting and even present you with some hidden costs as well.
Here are some of my best tips for having a stress free and frugal Thanksgiving.
Start Planning Early…As In Now
Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning the Thanksgiving dinner. If you procrastinate, you’re bound to end up making multiple trips to the store or realize that what you need is no longer in stock.
The one thing I don’t want to do on Thanksgiving is end up running to the store to pick up plates, cups, or eggs. Most stores are usually closed, plus running errands on this day just a major hassle.
Instead, sit down and plan the list of meals with family. Assign who’s responsible for bringing what and spend a few days going over your shopping list so you don’t miss anything.
Free Shopping List Ease is a great app that allows you to create a list of the items you need at the grocery store along with a running tab of the groceries you currently have already in your cabinets.
Get a Realistic Head Count
If you’re hosting, you’ll want to get a clear understanding of how many people will be attending for the Thanksgiving meal to avoid being over or under prepared.
In my family, we tend to overcook with the hopes of having leftovers the following day. However, nothing is more awkward than realizing you don’t have enough food for everyone.
Ask everyone to send in their guests in advance and set clear expectations that you may not be prepared if there are any surprises.
Delegate As Much As You Need To
Once you have a pretty accurate head count, you’ll be able to delegate tasks as needed. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle everything yourself.
See if other people want to pitch in for parts of the meal or dessert. Even if some family members can’t cook, they can be responsible for bringing chairs, paperware, games, etc.
Also, make sure everyone is clear on what they need to bring and communicating with each other one-on-one. One of the main issues with Thanksgiving in my family is that people are assigned to bring/do certain things and they either forget or it’s miscommunicated with one person and that throws everything off.
You may want to set up a group text so everyone can chat together and see who’s responsible for what.
Shop With Coupons
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer year-round to take advantage of coupons and sales around Thanksgiving. It’s obvious that one of the biggest costs is the food so if you can reduce that expense, you should be able to have a very frugal Thanksgiving meal.
Start by browsing the weekly grocery store circulars to see what’s on sale. You can download the free Flipp app on your phone do this more efficiently so you’ll know which stores have which deals.
If you’re going to be buying ham and turkey, see which stores will offer a BOGO deal on them. Each year many grocery stores either offer a deal where you can buy a turkey and receive a free ham, or the other way around.
Usually, there are weight restrictions but you could still save $15-$20 by getting either a ham or turkey for free.
Also, don’t forget to make use of money-saving apps like Ebates when you shop. This user-friendly app allows you to score rebates and cash back on certain purchases so you can save money.
Related Post: Ebates: Save Money and Get Cashback Online
Cook Some Foods Ahead of Time
Thanksgiving dinner can seem like a huge operation and you probably don’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen. To free up more of your time so you can actually enjoy the holiday, start preparing some parts of the meal the night before or early in the morning to get them out of the way.
You can make pies, casserole, vegetables, mac and cheese and even ham all the night before and just warm them up on Thanksgiving Day. Turkey seems to dry out quickly so you may want to save that for the day of.
Set a Decorations Budget
Be sure to set a small budget if you’re going to be putting up festive decorations. Head to your local dollar store to see what they have. You can also pick up disposable table clothes and use vases you already have for centerpieces. Use leftover pumpkins from Halloween
If there are kids in the family, get them involved with decorating as well. They may be able to DIY some things or create some artwork.
Avoid Pre-Black Friday Shopping
If you want to ultimately save the most money on Thanksgiving day, avoid going shopping during pre-Black Friday sales.
I was never crazy about Black Friday in the first place, but the fact that retailers have opened up their stores and started Black Friday shopping events on Thanksgiving night really bothers me.
Some of the doorbusters are not even that good. Plus, rushing through dinner, standing in line and competing with others for products sounds like a really stressful way to spend your Thanksgiving.
There will always be great sales and now you can even shop online for better deals during Cyber Week. Instead, stay home and enjoy your family on Thanksgiving. Watch movies, play games, and get seconds of dessert.
Keep in mind that they day probably won’t be perfect, but just keep calm and realize there area few elements you can control in order to keep things organized and running smoothly.
What are you planning on doing to have a stress-free and frugal Thanksgiving this year?