Hosting Thanksgiving on a Budget

Thanksgiving is a time for family, tradition, and, of course – lots of food. But if you’ve ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, you know the holiday can be a bit stressful and expensive. Between buying all the ingredients, spending time cooking, and making sure your home is ready to accommodate others – there’s a lot to plan and budget for.

The holiday season might already be a burden on your budget, and throwing inflation into the mix doesn’t make it any easier this year. According to the USDA, grocery prices have increased by over 13% from 2021 to 2022. That’s why it’s so important to consider cost-effective alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Here are 4 ways you can host Thanksgiving on a budget this year.

Plan your budget and menu

Before hosting any party or gathering, you should always create a budget. Don’t just consider which ingredients you need, but rather what you can reasonably afford. Start by listing out your expenses and income to determine what you have left to spend. From there you’ll have a better idea of what your menu will look like based on your budget.

Ahead of going to the grocery store, you should know what your main course will be and the types of sides you’ll be serving. Knowing any guest dietary restrictions will be helpful before you shop as well.

Shop generic brands

According to News 12 New Jersey, Thanksgiving turkeys typically take up 40% of the holiday budget and are one of the most expensive parts of the meal. And while turkey may be a holiday staple, you can always find a more affordable bird when comparing brand prices. For example, a ShopRite 24-pound fresh turkey could cost $40, Butterball is $52, and organic brands cost around $77. If you’re feeding fewer people, consider buying a turkey breast instead of the full bird. Also, don’t forget about your grocery store rewards or coupons. If you frequent ShopRite, be sure to take advantage of the free frozen turkey or ham you may be able to get this time of year.

Try something new

With a 28% cost increase per pound this year, you might want to consider nixing buying a turkey entirely. Sure Thanksgiving is all about traditions, but what better opportunity to start a new ritual with your loved ones – especially if it’s saving money? We recommend trying a different cut of meat like roasted duck, beef, or even plant-based options – all of which won’t be as heavily priced this time of year. You can even challenge yourself to try new cuisines by making Native American staples to honor the history of the holiday.

Turn it into a potluck

Get your guests involved and host a potluck! Sharing the burden of cooking not only saves you time, but it’s also easier on your wallet. Even if you don’t want to do a full-blown potluck, you can ask your guests to bring beverages or desserts. Start a conversation with your group to see what they would be comfortable bringing and make sure you have all the fixings for the main course, sides, and appetizers.

No matter what your plans are this Thanksgiving and holiday season, the team at First Financial is here to help with financial resources, accounts, loans, and more. Talk to us about becoming a member by calling 732-312-1500 or stop by our local branches.

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