I like my holidays one at at a time.
Let's relax and enjoy Thanksgiving before getting there.
We've got a whole month of Christmas with the jingle jangles and decorations. No need to rush.
Anywho, now that that's out of the way: gathering the ingredients, preparing the meal, serving it at the table, then cleaning up. Man, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. It’s also quite expensive. I mean, damn, it’s a lot of food and food does not come cheap nowadays.
Today we’ll dive into some ways you can host a frugal Thanksgiving Dinner in the laziest and cheapest way possible.
1. Make it a Potluck
Follow the lazy principle of getting other people to do the work for you. Easy.
Have each guest bring their own dish.
It saves you time. It saves you money.
You no longer have to prepare the meal or go out grocery shopping. You can delegate and get your guests to do all the dirty work for you. As a procrastinator, I like to put off as much work as I can and hosting a pot luck is one of the laziest ways you can get away with hosting dinner.
You’re basically just providing the venue, the location for the dinner and everyone else brings the food.
You can even offer to provide the drinks, which is the easiest thing to bring
When in doubt, be the drink guy (or gal) or make a homemade pie with a dash of “ShopRite” stickers or your local bakery.
Your goal is to not actually have to cook or prepare anything ‘cause fuck that.
Best part is, you won’t have to worry about cleaning huge fancy dishes (or lifting it up or placing it in your dish washer for that matter) because
2. Take advantage of coupons
Clipping coupons used to be a pain in the butt, but nowadays it’s easy. You don’t have to rummage through pages and pages of newspaper ads, find one, then cut it out. No “clipping” involved.
You can now literally go online and search for the store you’re going to shop for and find what coupons are available within seconds.
Heck, you can even search for specific ITEMS, then compare the discounts and prices across multiple stores.
Here is a list of some coupon sites:
Krazy Coupon Lady
Very organized. You can filter by store,brand category, smartphone app only, online only, and print only
Simple layout, not as many categories or filter options as Krazy Coupon Lady
You can only really filter things by store, but you cna click a link and it'll auto c&p it to your clipboard then bring you to the website to use.
A social media type site where people share promo codes. If you have a large enough following , you can even get paid to promote certain discounts. You have to verify you're the owner of the account(s) by connecting them
They measure your influence on comments, reactions, and shares, not just follows.
Automatically copies a code and redirects you to a website. Coupon codes are user submitted and sometimes don't work. Also features CashBack
Swagbucks Local Coupons
One of my favorites sites. You not only get coupons, but can earn reward points (SBs or "Swagbucks") for printing them out. The SBs can be used to get free giftcards.
You can also save 15% using Amazon Subscribe & Save, then just cancel your subscription after delivery.
3. Use cashback apps
There are apps that want to pay you for your receipts. You’d be dumb not to take advantage of this. What are you going to do with your receipt?
Probably throw it away.
MAYBE get a tax return. But even if you are getting a tax return on your receipt, you might as well get a “cash back” return as well.
It’s free money, basically, for something that is likely otherwise just trash.
- earn coins for uploading receipts
- win streak bonuses for each week you upload
- enter sweepstakes for big prizes or redeem for Visa, Amazon, or PayPal. Must fill out survey, verify device
-connect amazon adn e-mail to earn a one time bonus
- Level up by uploading receipts each week. Earn slot spins
- Slot spins to win a “daily trip” vacation or extra coins for rewards or sweepstakes entries
-no longer has referral system
Fetch Rewards (Ref Code: M7VEE)
- grocery receipts with certain brands (AI, Aunt Jemima, Aquafina, Brisk, Amp, Breyers, Bagel bites, Blue Moon, Boca, SPIKED Arnold Palmer)
- Redeen points for gift cards
(Groupon, Guitar Center, Best Buy, Dell, Panera bread, Applebee’s, Xbox, AMC, Facebook
Visa or Charity)
- “Plan” tab lets you make a shopping list. You can manually add items or look at recipe “inspiration” to add items to your list
- $2 sign up bonus plus $2 for each ref
- upload receipts
-coins are rewarded on RNG, not on amount spent
- ANY receipt works, even a cafeteria at a hotel or the strip club
- use loyalty number at check out or upload receipt
- you can add automatic saving stores by linking loyalty cards
Ibotta (Ref Code: tblnauo)
- sometimes certain stores sometimes certain products, sometimes certain products in certain stores
- must earn $10 within a month to qualify for $10 welcome bonus
- refer 5 friends and get a $25 bonus plus a $50 “mystery bonus” (not sure if it’s a gift card, discount or what)
Use a debit or credit card with cash back.
There are cards that give cash back on groceries, specifically.
Be sure to pay off the balance IN FULL, though, otherwise you’ll accrue interest and the amount of interest these credit card companies hit you with completely negates any sort of savings you would have earned through your rewards.
If you don’t want to be bothered with paying money at a certain deadline, you can either set up an auto payment or just forget about using credit card rewards altogether.
The flip option is to use Debit card rewards, while not as lucrative as credit cards, they do have the advantage of using money you already have rather than creating a balance of money you will owe in the future.
Debit Reward card are good because you get all the benefits of using a credit card (ie. cash back) , butwith a slightly less numbers and a LOT less hassle.
It’s probably important to note that *technically* any cash back you earn is supposed to be taxed, whether from receipt apps or cards.
You can buy gift cards at a discount price and use them at the store you buy groceries at (Wal-Mart, ShopRite, Giant, etc)
It’ll normally save you about 1% for grocery stores or more for other stores. Every little bit of savings counts. The downside is some of the cards are only available as a physical card (not an online code) and sometimes it has a weird amount, like $26.49, because it's a marketplace where people list their unwanted or partially used gift cards to sell. You cna sell your own gift cards too.
This is also a good way to get gifts for the holiday as well.
Here are some gift card exchange sites:
Gift Card Granny
There's also a subreddit for exchanging gift cards
Be careful with who you decide to trade or buy from though. There's a whole trust score system you should pay attention to.
Elect to host it at your place or convince a close (proximity wise) relative, so you don’t have to pay any travel expenses
If you do decide to travel though, here are some tips...
If you’re traveling via car, carpool to save on gas.
If it’ll take a few days on a road trip, bring a cooler with lunch meat, some bread, and peanutbutter & jelly, it’s cheaper than a restaurant, convenience store, or fast food.
If you insist on flying, search for cheap flights.
Prices of flights tend to go up the closer to the last minute of departure you are, so as much as I encourage procrastination this is probably one of the few things I would encourage you to NOT wait for the last minute for.
Buy flight tickets early and not have to deal with surge prices.
Or pay the “procrastination fee” so you don’t have to deal with early booking. In this case, you have to choose what’s more important to you: not having to deal with hassle or saving money.
When you get to the airport, see if you can arrange with a family member or friend to get drop you off and picked up at the airport or use public transportation It’ll be much cheaper than renting your own car or paying for parking.
Pack light and don’t bring extra carry ons. Only bring essentials. You don’t need 3 outfits a day or 13 pairs of shoes. Just bring what you need.
If you need a place to stay, first see if you can crash on the couch or in a guest room. If not, book an Airbnb. Locals rent out their houses or rooms on the cheap.
Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia also have last minute deals, where you can find hotels at a deep discount if you book the day of the trip.
I once got a hotel in Pittsburgh for $50. I stayed downtown in major metropolitan city for fifty bucks. Can’t beat that!
This could be a whole article in itself about cheap traveling to be honest, so we’ll do that later and move on for now.
7. Have a list and stick to it.
Ignore distractions. Make it easy for yourself and come up with a shopping list that way your not wandering around aimlessly and wasting time that you could be lying on the couch playing video games.
You could also just shop online, though a bit more pricey, you save yourself the hassle of running out to the store and even leaving the house in the first place.
Also, eat before you go grocery shopping, so you don’t end up making your eyes bigger than your stomach.
8. Don’t go out and buy what you don’t need
Do a bit of inventory check before you go out shopping (or order online). You’re the quarter master of your humble bode. Check your cabinets, drawers, spice rack, and fridge, and see what you can use.
No sense going out of your way to purchase something that's already in your kitchen.
You can also use Halloween candy to bake a dessert or hell, just serve the candy raw. Candy is a dessert for Thanksgiving! Fight me.
9. Buy generic
You’re honestly paying for nothing other than a name. Name’s are worthless, just buy generic. “Quality”is what they tell you they have. With the Food & Drug Administration, it’s not like they can legally sell you poor quality food.
Look at the ingredients of generic brands versus name brands. They’re the exact same thing.
And in terms of fruits and veggies, what do you think their growing from the Garden of Eden or something? You think they have 120 farming?
Don’t be sold on a name just ‘cause they have a catchy jingle. Make your own jingle for a generic brand if you need to, if it makes you happy.
Buying a bunch of spices in bulk is a lot cheaper than buying the premade spices. You’re basically paying for the jar (and not to mention brand name/label). You’ll get the spices in these large bags and can mix them to suit your tastes.
A lot of pre-blends are also like 90% salt anyway and the others are just a mix of raw spices.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg makes Pumpkin Spice, for example. You can look up how to make specific spices for your dinner.. This isn’t a recipe or food blog though, and I’m to lazy to look that up for you, but you can do that if that’s your thing.
11. Compare prices
Check your local stores online to compare
There are websites that makes this easy and let you look at a price comparison. Type in your location and what is on your list then see what’s cheapest where. You can then map out your whole trip.
My Grocery Deals
There’s an app for that too:
12. Buy boxed wine & mull your own
Carboard is less expensive.
Boxed wine is a lot cheaper than by the bottle. You don’t need to look all fancy with a bottle. It all ends up in the same wine glass anyway.
Also mull your own wine. Just heat it up w/cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg in a pot. No need to pay a premium for something so easy to make.
13. Use homemade decorations, dollar store ones, or none at all
There are plenty of How Tos and craft projects on Pinterest for using stuff around your house to build nice little decorations.
Some of the dollar store decorations are actually quite decent too. Of course, I’m not a fashion & design expert by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is the average person, so most people aren’t going to be overly critical about your decor. And if one of your guests happens to be a fashion expert that gives you an unsolicited critique, you can thank them for their advice and suggest they buy you decor and decorate themselves for next year, which is a polite way of saying “shove it!” It’s not your problem. And boom! You just delegated the decorating to someone else and don’t ahve to do it.
You can also do that beforehand too and don’t have to wait for the inevitable design slam.
You don’t really need decorations though. If someone is so upset about decorations being missing, again, it’s not your problem. You’re a lazy procrastinator, too lazy to care and cater to every single whim and want of everybody else. You’re no people pleaser. You’re a you pleaser.
Only decorate if it’s something YOU find enjoyable, if you’re a crafty type person. Don’t do it to try and make a good impression on anyone else.
14. Get paid to host dinner
You’re spending all this time making a meal, so you might as well make some cash off of it.
There are websites that are basically the Uber or AirBnb version of restaurants. You post what you’re serving and when and set a price. People sign up to join your dinner and boom! Profit.
It’s an easy way to turn your Thanksgiving into a profitable day.
Plus, you’ll have more potential guests you could subtly reccomend a product once you find out their interest and give them an affiliate link (We’ll get to that later)
Eat With Me
15. Buy just enough, no left overs
Try not to overestimate how much you and your guests will eat. Buy a moderate amount of food and don’t splurge.
Of course, to be fair, Thursday is just the beginning of Thanksgiving, it’s the tip of the iceberg. The real body of Thanksgiving comes form the left overs - the turkey sandwich lunches, the late night pie snack, so this point may be null and void.
With services like GrubHub and UberEats you have food deloivery from your local restaurants from your pocket. No need to do any of the cooking or the shopping or the cleaning (because they usually provide paper plates, styrofoam trays or boxes and disposable utensils)
Use my ref link on Grub Hub to save $10 off your first order. Use code: eats-p11cl on Uber Eats to save $5 off your first order.
Not a bad deal.
A lot of times there’s a local dinner delivering and you can even order a turkey meal complete with mashed potatoes and stuffing, since dinners literally serve EVERYTHING, if you insist on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but who says you have to?
A procrastinator does what s/he wants and eats what s/he wants (even on Thanksgiving), so order pizza if you want. You can get pizza pretty cheap too. Like Pizza Hut & Domino’s has $6 medium pies which is awesome. Order Buffalo chicken pizza. It’s still a bird. It’s still poultry.
17. Go out to eat (buffet)
Maybe you want the experience of eating endless amounts of Thanksgiving food but don’t want to go through the hassle of buying the food, preparing it, setting the table, cleaning the dishes, sweeping, etc. Well, why not go out to eat.
This will usually cost you around $15 a head, but you can request that everyone pays for their own entry to the buffet. You can also eat at a diner or Chinese restaurant. The best part of eating out during Thanksgiving is you don't have to tidy up or clean your house; you can live as a complete slob and no one will know!
18. Buy fruit and veggies that are in season
Pumpkin, cranberries, a few others. Look what is in season locally. Fruits and veggies that are out of season are more costly because of the shipping and storage costs are much higher and are passed on down to you, the customer.
If you stick to the traditional Thanksgiving meal, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Unless you like something like asparagus, which is out of season. But no one likes asparagus anyway, unless their old or their taste buds are broken.
19. Do some subtle affiliate marketing.
Bring up products you recommend during dinner conversation, which will be a natural thing to do, because people *always* recommend product and services in their every day conversations.
I recommend Wildlink to get started with affiliate marketing.
Tell them you’ll send text a link later, and then shoot them over an affiliate link after you eat.
Don’t be the person that texts at the table. Have some human interaction. And if you’re more introverted, that’s okay: quality over quantity. Talk less and listen more. Good conversations happen when you listen rather than try to shoot your point across. Be bold but be tactful. Relax and take it easy.
20. Don’t make a big deal about it
Just make it simple and not an elaborate feast. Don’t go all out.
Focus the night on a simple get together and have an activity like board games or video games to keep people entertained.
Don’t put stress on making the perfect meal with elaborate side dishes and lavish desserts. Just make a meal you would make for a typical lazy night.
Heck, heat up some Hot Pockets or Ramen Noodles. The point is to get together and have a good time, so make it a day you enjoy, not stress out about.
"Fatboy" Turkey found on Pinterest
Grocery Giftcards on The Markets LLC
Other images from FreePik.com
As a bit of a disclaimer and to be completely transparent, some of the links provided are affiliate links and I do make a commission off of your purchase through them. I do appreciate your support if you decide to use any of my affiliate links. Thanks!