Thanksgiving is literally my favorite holiday. (I bolded the word holiday for the simple reason that Halloween is also a favorite but is technically not a holiday so I don’t have to choose! PHEW!) But Thanksgiving is my favorite for a few different reasons, the main one being that the art of being thankful is such a great feeling. I use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the year and all of the things for which I am grateful. Every single person, no matter the hardships of the year, can find a ton of things to be thankful for and this holiday is simply about that.
Another reason to love the holiday is the great time spent with family and friends. The comforting feeling of having loved ones close to you share in a bountiful meal and participate in the gratitude fills me with love and warmth.
And the last but definitely not the least of the reasons I absolutely adore Thanksgiving is the wonderfully warm and soothing meal. I host an annual Thanksgiving dinner and invite friends, family, neighbors, and probably a few strangers to come and enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal with all the fixins’! I usually have anywhere between 25 and 50 people attend!! And, as anyone who has ever hosted this particular meal, it does not come cheap! Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be quite expensive! However, over the years I have come up with a few important tips and tricks to help reduce that exorbitant bill! So with a little creativity and ingenuity, we can host a wonderful dinner that your guests will talk about for years to come!
1. TURKEY TRICKERY:
The perfectly crisp and browned turkey is, by far, the most cherished presence on the Thanksgiving table. Substituting your turkey for, say, a chicken would be almost sacrilegious! But, if you are hosting anything over 10 people, a turkey becomes the most expensive component of the meal! Not to mention the fact that a large bird takes up ALL of your oven space and takes HOURS to cook! But here is a great trick! Buy a normal (small-ish) sized turkey and also buy some turkey breasts and turkey legs on the side. The cost of those pieces of turkey are way cheaper and can usually be found on sale a few days before Thanksgiving. That way you still have a beautifully turkey just waiting to be carved sitting as the center of your Thanksgiving table, but you also have enough turkey meat for everyone without buying the exorbitantly priced 26 pounder!
2. NO APPS!
No, I am not talking about avoiding Google Play or the App Store (in fact, feel free to take this moment to download the iCASH app!) No, I simply mean that the Thanksgiving meal is so heavy and will leave people more than full that there is no need for appetizers. If you plan on starting your event in the early afternoon, or if you know your particular crowd gets “hangry” quickly, then opt for something quick and cheap to nosh on, such as chips and pretzels. Avoid the expensive cheese platters or shrimp rings. Appetizers are great in any other setting but are really just a distraction in for this particular meal.
3. TURN YOUR INTEREST FROM PINTEREST
If you have ever hosted any event, you have probably also done the endless “Pinterest” search for ideas on decorations, platter presentations, centerpieces, and everything in between! But, let’s face it, those beautiful ideas usually come with a price tag! (Plus, if you are anything like me, your creations never turn out to look anything like they did on the Pinterest post!). The Thanksgiving meal is already so visually stunning with the beautiful brown turkey, the vibrant orange sweet potatoes, the contrasting green beans, that you really don’t need much in the way of décor.
4. DECORATION SIMPLICITY
Fall is already so full of natural decorations that you can easily decorate your Thanksgiving table, not only for cheap, but literally for free! Go for a nice walk in the woods and you can pick up some fallen leaves, pine cones and small branches. Arrange them all artfully in a cute basket and voila! Add some colorful squashes to the mix and you have a stunning centerpiece! You can even use the squashes the following week to make a comforting curried squash soup!
5. SHOP FOR DEALS
No matter how budget savvy you are, the Thanksgiving grocery bill is going to end up being your biggest expense! The best way to reduce that food bill is to plan early and shop the deals! The turkey is, as already mentioned, going to be the biggest expense so, as soon as you have a confirmed head count (or close to confirmed), start looking for the best deal. Another great way to save some money is to use one of the coupon Apps that we detailed in an earlier blog post: HOW TO SAVE ON GROCERIES AND STILL MAKE AWESOME MEALS! You can use those apps to get some cashback and use that money for Christmas gifts, which is right around the Thanksgiving corner!
6. GO POTLUCK
Just because you are hosting, does not mean that the entire financial and cooking responsibility needs to fall on your shoulders! Why not ask everyone to bring a little something? It definitely helps defer the cost of the meal and it also relieves a large part of the work involved. It also ties in the “Thanksgiving” theme of everyone being thankful and contributing to the harvest bounty of the table. Don’t forget to also ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine or another alcoholic beverage. The alcohol costs can actually be higher than the turkey!
7. DON’T DISCOUNT LEFTOVERS
Eating leftover Thanksgiving dinner is almost more enjoyable than the actual meal! There are so many creative ways to use up those leftovers without eating turkey sandwiches for a week! Some of my personal favorites are frying up leftover stuffing with a side of scrambled eggs the next morning! There are several awesome and creative recipes that you can find online with just a quick Google search. It’s a great way to avoid wasting food as well as saving money on next week’s grocery bill.
The joy of Thanksgiving is a joy shared by all. Making sure that the financial burden of the holiday doesn’t turn that joy into dread is important. Besides, with Christmas just around the corner, we could all definitely use some extra savings in our bank accounts!
As always, if you need some extra help with cash flow during Thanksgiving or any other time of year, iCASH is available 24/7 through our online application process (including holidays!).
You can get up to $1,500 dollars and iCASH is the only trusted direct licensed lender in Canada to offer fast 5 minutes e-transfer deposits - even during Thanksgiving. Apply here.