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How to Do Friendsgiving on a Budget


Friends gathering at a table

We’re officially through Halloween and every holiday-enthusiast is already listening to Baby It’s Cold Outside through their headphones while they price check turkeys at their local supermarket… No? Well maybe that’s just me. But November 1st means that Thanksgiving is approaching. And while I know the holidays are fun, they can also be expensive. This year, make sure the button on your pants is busting but your wallet is not. Whether you are eating with your family on Thursday and with your friends on Friday or your friends are your family, there are ways to enjoy Friendsgiving with the ones you love on a budget.

Potluck Style is Your Friend

Share the load. Just because you are hosting Friendsgiving does not mean that you need to provide all of the food. When you shoot out the message about dates and times in the group chat, invite everyone to bring a delicious dish to share. Not only will this ease the pressure of serving up a five-star meal, but it will also shorten your grocery list and thus save you shopping time and money. After all, you are gathering to share laughs and spend time together, what better way to do so than with a family-style meal?

Add Your Own Flare

Friendsgiving is not a traditional holiday, so why should the way you celebrate be? You do not need to serve “traditional” Turkey Day food. If you already know what dish is a crowd-pleaser in your circle, but you might not find it on your grandmother’s Thanksgiving table, go for it anyways. Maybe its pork dumplings from your local takeout place or even your homemade fish tacos. Simply spicing up what you serve can make for an unforgettable and relatively inexpensive night.

DIY Decorations

Don’t spend your dough on decorating. While I am the first to admit, Pinterest DIY projects are hard (I once made marshmallow snowmen look like possessed ghosts) you have options. Capitalize off of the season’s natural beauty. Clip branches with bright leaves, or winter greens, pop them into a vase or bowl, add an element of light like a candle and you have a centerpiece. Another great option is playing around with the dishware you plan to use. Mix and match different colors and let your spread be the décor. This is perfect for those of us who have hand-me-down dishes and mismatching sets. The bottom line is you can search for items that already exist in your own space to help you decorate.

Make it BYOB

Similarly to potluck style, invite your friends to bring their favorite drink to the party to share. We all know alcohol is expensive. This eliminates the pressure of having endless options available for your guests. If you would like to have something out for your guests for when they arrive try purchasing a buck chuck bottle of wine for around $7. Both one bottle of red and one bottle of white can be less than about $15. Let your friends fill out the rest. Another great option is a hot chocolate bar. Put out mugs and boil some cocoa and invite your friends to bring different holiday liquors to add flavor to their toasty drink. This can be a great for after dinner when everyone is full and almost asleep by the fire.

Be the Cleanup Crew

It’s ok if none of this is an option for you this year. The holidays can be tough and sometimes all we can offer is our presence and a smile. If you can’t swing bringing a dish or drink to Friendsgiving, your friends will understand. You can still be the friend that helps set up and clean up. This takes pressure off of the host and is a great way to show your appreciation for the invite.

Going the extra mile, by lending a helping hand is not only thoughtful but free. And I can’t think of anything more Friendsgiving-esque than thinking of others.

Happy Holidays from one fellow budgeter to another!