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Thanksgiving on a Budget: Cost-Cutting Tips for a Joyful Celebration

Thanksgiving is one of the most cherished holidays in America, but it can also be one of the most expensive ones. With rising prices and the cost of traveling, its understandable that some people find it harder to celebrate in the traditional sense.

However, there are numerous ways to save money on Thanksgiving while still enjoying the festivities with family or friends.

Friendsgiving with Pizza

Instead of spending a fortune on traditional Thanksgiving fare, consider having a Friendsgiving party with pizza. While it may not be the most conventional choice for a Thanksgiving meal, it is an exciting and budget-friendly option that will save you a considerable amount of money.

The best part? It can be enjoyed with a group of friends, with everyone chipping in a few dollars for the pizza.

This not only helps with the cost, but it also fosters a sense of community and spending time with loved ones.

Smaller Guestlists

Another way to save money on Thanksgiving is to limit the guestlist. Start by inviting only immediate family members who are in town.

Fewer guests mean fewer plates to prepare, less cooking time, and fewer leftovers, all of which can add up to significant savings. Additionally, plan the meal carefully with a well-thought-out meal prep list to avoid food waste.

86 That One Dish

Traditional Thanksgiving staples such as turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are some of the most expensive items at the grocery store. Eliminating one or two of them from the menu can save a lot of money without sacrificing the holiday’s spirit.

Instead, consider having a potluck-style meal, where each guest brings their signature dish to share. This not only helps to save money but provides everyone with a diverse range of dishes to enjoy.

Sharing the Budget

Sharing the cost of the Thanksgiving meal with friends or family is another way to ease the financial burden on everyone. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you could ask your guests to contribute a dish or two to share.

That way, everyone can try something new and unique while keeping costs down. Alternatively, you could organize a potluck-style meal, where everyone contributes a dish that they’re good at making.

Skipping Thanksgiving All Together

While Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated holiday in America, it’s not always feasible to celebrate it every year. It can be costly to travel home to see family, buy ingredients for the feast, and other expenses.

Moreover, with the ongoing pandemic, many people are wary of traveling. It’s perfectly acceptable to skip Thanksgiving altogether, particularly if it’s not a priority.

Instead, consider making a small meal at home or going out on an outdoor excursion with close friends. Moving on to the second topic of the article, Personal Capital conducted a survey to determine the impact of job loss on Americans’ holiday plans.

Job Loss Impact on Celebration Plans

The survey found that people who recently lost their jobs were less likely to celebrate Thanksgiving due to financial constraints. They were also more likely to opt for a Friendsgiving with an emphasis on budget-friendly options like potluck-style meals.

Additionally, they also admitted to scaling back on gifts and other expensive holiday traditions.

Thanksgiving Budget

The survey also found that different age groups had different budget allocation priorities. Millennials, for instance, prioritized spending on travel, while Generation X prioritized spending on food.

Baby boomers, on the other hand, emphasised spending on decoration. However, regardless of the age group, everyone surveyed stated that setting a budget was essential to maintaining reasonable expenses.


In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to save money on Thanksgiving without sacrificing quality and enjoyment. From hosting a potluck-style meal to celebrating Friendsgiving with pizza, there is a budget-friendly option that ensures everyone has a great time.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no one right way to celebrate Thanksgiving. What matters most is spending time with loved ones in a comfortable and enjoyable setting, regardless of the meal’s cost and extravagance.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many Americans are concerned about the rising cost of the holiday. From the cost of turkey to travel expenses, the holiday can be an expensive one, making it more challenging to celebrate in the traditional sense.

However, there are ways to celebrate Thanksgiving without breaking the bank, including alternative celebrations and cost-cutting measures.

Increase in Turkey Prices

One of the most significant expenses for Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey, and this year, shoppers can expect to pay more due to rising food costs. The National Turkey Federation states that turkey prices have increased 30% due to supply chain disruptions.

As a result, some consumers may opt for a smaller turkey, while others may opt for an alternative protein source such as ham or chicken. To lower the cost of turkey, shoppers can keep an eye out for sales to stock up on turkey for future months when prices may be higher.

Additionally, purchasing a frozen turkey and defrosting it in advance can lead to significant savings versus buying a fresh turkey.

Items Dropped from Thanksgiving Menu

Another way to cut costs is to drop items from the Thanksgiving menu. Traditionally, a full spread featuring turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie is expected.

However, eliminating or cutting back on some of these items can save money and still be just as enjoyable. To reduce the cost of the meal, consider dropping the desserts entirely or choosing a more cost-friendly alternative.

Instead of making a fresh pumpkin pie, consider making pumpkin bars or cookies, such as a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. Cutting back on appetizers or dropping them altogether can save on costs without sacrificing the meal’s overall quality.

Projection of Rising Cost for 2022

While Americans may be concerned with the rising cost of Thanksgiving meals in 2021, a study by the analytics and data firm IRI projects that prices will continue to rise in 2022. The study indicates that food prices are expected to increase 5-8% over the next year.

Higher ingredient and transportation costs contribute to these rising prices. To save money in 2022, consider starting a savings account dedicated to Thanksgiving expenses and contribute to it throughout the year.

Additionally, look for sales throughout the year on non-perishable items such as canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, and stuffing mix to stock up at a lower price.

Friendsgiving as an Alternative

If the cost of Thanksgiving is too much to bear, consider an alternative celebration such as Friendsgiving. It can be a more relaxed way to celebrate the holiday with close friends, setting a budget that everyone is comfortable with, either by having a potluck-style meal or choosing a budget-friendly option like pizza.

Friendsgiving with pizza still provides a sense of community and spending quality time with friends.

Letting Go of Traditional Celebrations

With the stress and expense that accompanies Thanksgiving, many Americans are turning to non-traditional celebrations or alternative plans to celebrate the holiday. This could mean going on a vacation, hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving, or skipping Thanksgiving altogether.

If the hassle and stress of preparing a big meal are too much, consider letting go of the traditional celebrations and making new, alternative plans. This could mean treating the holiday as a staycation and spending time with family or trying something new by going on an outdoor excursion or spending the day volunteering.

In conclusion, rising prices and the cost of Thanksgiving can be daunting, but there are still ways to celebrate the holiday without breaking the bank. From cutting back on the Thanksgiving menu to an alternative celebration such as Friendsgiving or prioritizing spending on items that matter most, a cost-friendly holiday is within reach.

In conclusion, the rising cost of Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, but there are ways to celebrate the holiday without breaking the bank. Cutting back on traditional Thanksgiving items, opting for alternative celebrations such as Friendsgiving or prioritizing spending on essential items can help in managing the costs.

It’s essential to set a budget and plan accordingly, whether it’s for this year’s holiday or the coming years. Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to spend quality time with loved ones and appreciate the things we have, regardless of the meal cost and the extravagance.

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