Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time of the year to get together with your family and friends. But it can also be a great deal of stress if you’re the one stuck preparing the meal.
According to Time, the average cost of being the host for Thanksgiving can equal out to $50. That’s because in addition to the bird, you’re also the one to provide the other trimmings as well as the drinks, desserts, etc.
If you’ve got hosting duties this year, here are 16 tips you can use to keep your costs under control without skimping out on providing an incredible feast!
1. Get an accurate head count
Its a little hard to hit a target when you don’t know where the bulls-eye is at. Planning a party is the same way. Ask yourself: Am I cooking for 10 or 50 people? The preparation will be quite a bit different.
To really best prepare and not kill yourself going overboard, get as accurate of a headcount as possible before the date. Follow up with people through Facebook or text. That way you’ll prepare just enough of exactly what you need.
2. Actually cook, don’t cater
Thanksgiving is one of those special times when its almost sacrilegious not to prepare a home-cooked meal. Do yourself and the guests a favor and prepare the food at home. Not only will it cost a whole lot less, it will also be much more authentic.
3. Yes, let people bring a dish!
If people offer, then let them bring food to your celebration. Not only will it cost less for you, but it will be less food to prepare. And it will make them feel more like they are a part of the party.
4. Only serve the food people will actually eat
If no one likes cranberries, then skip it! There’s no need to have dishes and plates of things that you one likes or wants to eat. In the end you’ll just end up throwing it away and it will be a waste of money.
5. Put out snacks ahead of time
To keep people from over-eating at the main meal, put out veggies and bread for them to snack on. This will help keep their bellies in check, and they’ll be less likely to fill up their plates with a bunch of food that they will not likely eat all of.
6. Stick to one type of meat
Having more than one kind of meat is nice and all, but certainly don’t think of it as being required. On a day like Thanksgiving, you only need one type of meat: Turkey!
7. A bird is a bird
Some people obsess about the particular brand of turkey or where it comes from. Honestly, the majority of the taste comes from how its prepared, not whether or not you bought it from Walmart. Go ahead and find your turkey on sale. No one is going to check your receipts.
8. Buy your groceries in bulk
When you’ve got to buy for several people, it just makes good sense to buy the biggest and bulkest containers you can find. That way you’ll pay less per ounce that you would normally when you’re shopping. If you don’t plan on using all the food you just bought, that’s okay too! Just save it for later or plan to use it in upcoming meals.
9. Don’t go crazy with the decorations
Unlike a lot of other holidays, Thanksgiving is one of those special times when you don’t need to go crazy with the decorations. A few simple pieces or even some early Christmas decorations will do the trick just fine!
10. Use disposable plates and cups
Though you’d think its cheaper to simply use your dishes, compare it to how much hot water you’ll use to clean up those dishes, how many times you’ll run the dishwasher, and the sheer amount of time you’ll spend cleaning up. Trust me: Use disposables and you’ll end up thanking yourself in the end.
11. Use smaller plates
This tip is a mental trick. If the plates are larger, people will think that they need to take more food to fill it up. This will just end up resulting in more un-eaten food being tossed out. Using smaller plates will help maintain better portion control.
12. Don’t encourage drinking alcohol
How many times does this happen? You set out a fresh bottle of wine, and only one person takes a sip? That means that after the party unless that whole bottle of wine gets drank soon, it will just spoil in the refrigerator.
A better plan is to set out your alcohol if people want it. But don’t encourage drinking it. Let them open it for themselves if they really want it. That way the whole bottle won’t go to waste.
13. Frozen pie is okay
Unless anyone in the house really knows their stuff when it comes to making pies, just go ahead and buy the frozen one instead. That way you won’t waste a lot of money on ingredients. Plus, you’re guaranteed that the pie will come out right on the first try!
14. Serve coffee with your desserts
Having coffee available will be a good way to fill people’s bellies as well as wake them up from all that turkey!
15. Bust out the board games
Don’t let your guests veg out in front of the TV. This will again encourage them to over-eat. Instead, bust out the board games and make things exciting!
16. Let someone else host next year!
You did your good deed and served your time. Now let someone else take a turn next year!
Featured image courtesy of Flickr