3 Ways to Throw a Phenomenal Thanksgiving Without Breaking the Bank

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  • Inflation is still eating away at everyone’s money, and gratitude can be a blessing in disguise.
  • But before you go broke, consider hosting a Friendsgiving potluck or get dim sum instead.
  • You can also plan a progressive dinner party with your neighbors where each house has a course.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love waking up, sleeping, and hanging out with my friends and family. There is nothing better than watching the Westminster Dog Show and wondering which dog will win this year. If I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I probably start preparing a few days in advance.

This year I don’t like to cook. And, like most people, I try my best to have the best vacation experience possible without going bankrupt.

According to Butterball’s 2022 Thanksgiving Outlook Report, there is an increased enthusiasm to hold a thanksgiving celebration in the people. However, many hosts are concerned about the impact of inflation on the cost of hosting dinner.

For those of you who like to think outside the box and want to try something new, I have three different ideas to consider before you say yes to expensive holiday dinner this year.

1. Go out for dim sum

I love to cook and I usually enjoy cooking Thanksgiving dinner. But, a few years ago, I just didn’t have the energy to receive guests or cook.

I am a big fan of taram sum and had heard that taram sum restaurants often open on Thanksgiving Day so I decided to take my mom for taram sum that year.

This is an amazing experience that will definitely do it again. The restaurant is packed and for smaller families, groups of friends, or singles, you can sit at the same table as another family.

It was my mom’s first time eating dim sum and she really liked it. We gorged on dumplings, spare ribs, broccoli, scallion pancakes, and egg tarts. Besides spending a stress-free day with my mom, the best part about this meal was the unique experience we got to share.

And the best part? The meal was incredibly cheap. I think we paid no more than $40 for everything, including tip.

2. Host a Friendsgiving potluck

One of the best things about celebrating the holidays is having the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Friendsgiving potlucks are a great way to host a fun event without breaking the bank.

Randomly assign each guest an item that they must bring to the meal. Hosts can also set interesting themes. Instead of having a dinner on Thanksgiving Day, it can also be hosted a few weeks before or after Thanksgiving weekend.

Changing the dates can help reduce the cost of some traditional items cooked during the holiday season. Turkeys purchased after Thanksgiving are typically available at deeply-discounted prices. Other cooking items, such as spices and fish, can also be purchased at a discount.

3. Plan a dinner party

This is one of my favorite creative dinner ideas. Progressive dinner parties are held at different houses in your neighborhood or your city. Progressive dinner host assigned a special food and drink item for each house along the route, then the group visits each house for each “course”.

One important thing to consider before hosting a cocktail party is how safe it is to transport your guests from one house to another, especially if you’re serving cocktails or other alcoholic beverages.

Some bonus savings tips

If you like making traditional Thanksgiving meals, here are some more savings tips to keep your costs low.

Eliminate the entree or side dish you like best. Hosts will often make dishes for their guests that they may not like personally. This year, just say no to dishes you don’t enjoy cooking or eating.

Instead of hosting everyone, host a smaller number of guests than you usually do. Lowering the number of guests will also help you avoid eating out of financial need, a strategy that the Butterball Outlook Report notes many guests are considering doing.

No one wants to work on Thanksgiving, but it can be the perfect time to take a few hours to work on the food delivery application. Cooks will be stressed and need someone to pick up items they forget while at the grocery store. You can be the person who helps cook someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner while making money and saving for your own holiday meals.

Your traditional Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to stress you out financially. Have fun reimagining what your next Thanksgiving meal looks like. As for me, I’ll probably go out for dim sum again.

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