How to Host Thanksgiving on the Cheap

I’ve managed to avoid this for almost thirty years, but it finally caught up with me. We are hosting Thanksgiving for my family, which will be 14 people. The good news is I think we can pull off dinner for around $40 to 50 total. How can I do that? With just a few simple steps.

1) Stop being so proud and ask for some help. Get your family to bring over some food. My wife put out the deal that every family has to bring one dish. That way we only have to provide the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and the drink.

2) Plan ahead. We decided to host this about a month ago, the reason being we could space out the costs so it didn’t hit me all at once three days before the big event. My wife also did some research and got a recipe from her mom to do stuffing in a slow cooker making our lives much easier on the big day.

3) Watch for sales. The advantage of deciding to host Thanksgiving in advance is we can watch for a good sale on turkey. The other mistake most people make is they assume people will each much more turkey than reasonable. With a full spread of salads, potatoes and dessert you only need about 1/2 pound of turkey per person unless you want to be swimming in left over turkey.

So that’s my tips for a cheap thanksgiving.  If you got some ideas to help, please leave a comment.

6 thoughts on “How to Host Thanksgiving on the Cheap”

  1. What’s left beyond “turkey, stuffing, potatoes and the drink”? Sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving dinner to me! 🙂

  2. Another way to ease pressure on yourself is to make two kinds of potatos- stuffed baked ones that eliminate the need for gravy AND can be made way ahead of time and frozen,and the usual mashed. That way, you don’t need a HUGE stockpot of boiling potatoes taking up stove top surfaces. You can also make up the mashed taters ahead of time and freeze them, but make sure you whip them very well before freezing.

  3. My cousin is hosting her first Thanksgiving this year, and it is completely potluck. Great idea I think to ease the pressure off one or two people to produce the perfect meal!.

  4. Telly – Salads, buns, cabbage rolls, pie…you get the idea. We like a lot of dishes for our big meals.

    Will – Thanks for the tip.

    Marcy – That was a great tip. I’ll have to remember that! I didn’t know mashed potatoes freeze well.

    Wooly – Our family started the potluck thing a year or two ago. We realized it isn’t fair to stick anyone with cooking for our extended family which keeps expanding by the month lately.


  5. just found out mashed potatoes could be frozen and also that cooked potatoes could be frozen then mashed when thawed. I’ve seen articles in I think The Vancouver Sun on how to prepare many Thanksgiving/Christmas dishes ahead of time then just reheat. Personally I’d love to have pyrogies and cabbage rolls that had been frozen and reheated so it was a carefreer day for the cook. And why do we need to eat so much extra? Why do stores have to sell so much extra food when half the people are going somewhere else to eat?

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