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Hosting Thanksgiving Without Gobbling Up Your Down Payment

candle pumpkins and pine cones

Saving to buy a new home requires a commitment to regularly setting aside money. This can be more of a challenge around the holidays, especially when it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner. However, with some planning, you can have a memorable feast without eating into your savings.

Potluck Instead of Ponying Up

One of the first things many guests will ask when invited to Thanksgiving dinner is, “What can I bring?” Rather than shouldering the responsibility and the cost, take people up on their offers. You can still be in charge of the main attraction—the turkey—but if people are interested and willing, don’t shy away. Plus, having guests contribute to the meal adds to the feeling of community and inclusion.

While asking everyone to contribute their signature masterpiece is one route to go, you may want to create a list or spreadsheet to organize the dishes. With apps like Perfect Potluck, you can set up a shareable account and ask guests to be responsible for a menu item. This prevents having seven different varieties of mac and cheese and a complete lack of pumpkin pie. 

Talking Turkey

The Thanksgiving turkey is arguably the showstopper of the meal. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to break the bank. Before you buy the bird, get as accurate a head count as possible so you know how large it should be. Butterball even has a handy calculator to help you get a better idea of the size you’ll need. Then, do some comparison-shopping among local grocers, butchers, supermarkets, and newer online options. Look for coupons, codes, and deals to stretch your holiday dollar even further.

Shop Smartly

Strategic spending during the holidays is all about having a plan and resisting the urge to make impulse buys. By deciding on the menu a few weeks ahead of time, you can keep an eye out for sales, coupons, or deals on the things you will need. This will help keep your grocery bill in check, as will planning your menu around seasonal items. When it comes things you will only use for this one meal—like herbs—visit the bulk-bin area of the store where you can get just the amount you need.

Decorating on a Dime

You don’t need to spend a pretty penny to make your home look, well, pretty. Sites like Pinterest have lots of budget-friendly ideas for making your table and house look festive. To begin, take a look around and see what you can use from what you already have. Jam jars and vases make lovely holders for branches, clusters of berries, pinecones, or acorns, all of which you may be able to find in your own backyard. Arrange votive and pillar candles from the dollar store with citrus fruit and decorative gourds for a seasonal centerpiece. Get the kids involved by having them create a garland of “hand turkeys” from construction paper and twine to hang over doorways. 

What makes a Thanksgiving memorable is the celebration you have with friends and family, not how much you spend on it. Relying on that is the secret to staying on course for enjoying your next Thanksgiving in your new home.


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