How to Plan Thanksgiving on a Budget

Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your home this year? If you are, how much do you think you will spend on your party? Unfortunately, many people don’t have as much money to spend on their party as they would like to. While this may make you want to change your mind, about hosting a Thanksgiving party, it doesn’t have to. There are a number of different ways that you can go about planning a memorable Thanksgiving on a budget.
thanksgiving table

How to Plan Thanksgiving on a Budget



Develop A Plan For Thanksgiving On A Budget

One of the best ways to plan Thanksgiving on a budget is to develop a plan. You need to plan what types of foods you would like to serve at your party, how many guests will be invited, and what type of entertainment, if any, you would like to have.

Making a detailed list of everything you want is the best way to determine how much money you want to spend. Keep in mind, that what you may expect to pay might not necessarily be what you can afford to pay. This is where budgeting comes in.


Determine What Your Budget Will Be

After you have your list of what you need to buy, you will need to determine exactly how much money you have to spend on Thanksgiving.

If you notice a difference between what you want to spend and what you have to spend, you may find that you need to cut a few corners. Don’t panic. There is always room for change. While it is nice to have the Thanksgiving party of your dreams, you also don’t want to go broke.

planning pad

You may need to eliminate the number of dishes you want to prepare. You may choose to limit the number of guests to cut down your costs. Don’t worry yet, you can easily add them back when you know your exact budget.


Where To Save Money

If you want to save money and plan Thanksgiving on a budget, there are a number of ways to do so. Perhaps, the most important step is trying to buy the food on sale. This is especially true if you have large amounts of food to buy.

Whether your party includes simple appetizers and finger foods or a full-fledged Thanksgiving dinner, you can save yourself a fairly large amount of money by buying your food or drinks while they are on sale.

Thanksgiving dinner

Typically, you will find that many grocery stores offer sales on their most popular Thanksgiving foods and cooking supplies. This is the best time to get your shopping done.

The ultimate way to meet your budget is to make your desserts and sides from home yourself. After all, everyone loves homemade cookies! Try this recipe for Peanut Butter Finger Cookies from Kathi at Oakhill Homestead!


DIY Decorating

You may also wish to purchase party decorations for your home. You may want to do this early because many stores seem to skip Thanksgiving decorations and go straight to Christmas!

However, for the most affordable Thanksgiving decorations, you can use items from your own yard or the nearby woods. Pine cones and dried flowers make great decorations for the table. Especially if you add a few candles.



Table setting of fruit and gourds to celebrate Thanksgiving on a budget


Get creative and make tags for each guest that are placed on the plate for a pretty seating arrangement. Pumpkins and gourds make classy decorations when placed in a bowl.

Outside, place a DIY scarecrow near the porch or line your walkway with a few pumpkins. Place a grapevine wreath on the door.


Furniture and Seating

Don’t forget the extra tables and seating! Whether you are hosting a formal Thanksgiving party, complete with a sit-down dinner, or just a casual party, there is a good chance that you may need extra chairs and tables. Be careful, though, and remember your planning Thanksgiving on a budget. Buying tables and chairs can certainly wreak havoc on a budget!

Your first impulse may be to buy them yourself. You can save money by renting extra tables and chairs from one of your local rental stores, particularly a party rental store. You can also get extra tables and chairs, for free, by asking local churches or even neighbors!


THanksgiving table with fabric for a tablecloth and decorated for Thanksgiving on a budget.


Need tablecloths? You don’t have to buy expensive ones. What about a trip to the local fabric store to find fabric on sale that could make for a nice cover for your tables?



The preceding tips mentioned above are just a few of the many ways that you can plan Thanksgiving on a budget. By making a budget and only spending what is necessary, you will have a successful and well-planned Thanksgiving celebration!

 Don't stress over planning a huge party at Thanksgiving because you think you can't afford it! Let's learn how to plan your Thanksgiving on a budget and still be able to enjoy the holiday and look like money was no option!

Do you make a budget for your Thanksgiving holiday or just wing it?



  1. Here’s one more idea :)
    Ask everyone in advance to bring their favorite dish for Thanksgiving and let you know what they are bringing.
    If one person loves green bean casserole, maybe they can bring it.
    Is there a guest who can’t do dinner without a bottle of wine? Have them bring a bottle!
    Most everyone is happy to help out by bringing a side dish, pie, or finer food and their favorite beverage. :)

    1. Author

      Great ideas Lisa! THanks for sharing!

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