Financial Planning
November 22, 2021

4 ways to budget for a true Thanksgiving

Four ways to ensure your holiday stays true to you and your budget.

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year, but it doesn’t need to have the biggest price tag. Here are four ways to ensure your holiday stays true to you -- and your budget.

Stick to the Plan

The holidays are a spending marathon. To make it to New Years with your wallet intact, figure out what’s most important at the season’s start. 

What do you want most for Thanksgiving? A nice meal shared with friends? Travelling to see family? A fancy destination holiday?

It’s worth running it by a friend - someone who knows you well and knows what you really want. Besides, no last minute surprises means no unexpected costs

Set your own expectations. Communicate them with everyone in your circle. And save the indulgences for the Thanksgiving table.

Great Thanksgivings Are Made, Not Bought

The heart of Thanksgiving is celebrating connections with loved ones. No purchase necessary. Think about what celebration means to you and focus on those essentials.

Whatever you’re doing for the holiday - cooking, visiting, hosting - look for simpler alternatives in all your purchases: paper plates instead of matching dishware, an economy rental car instead of premium size, pumpkins and apples instead of heirloom gourds and quince. 

If you’re planning a gathering, drop the big-ticket items. Things like alcohol, flowers and specialty foods cost a lot, but how much do they add to the celebration? Make the fundamentals shine and the extras will fade from view.   

Thanksgiving is the most expensive time to fly, so if you can stand to stay local, do it. Use the money you save to buy a much cheaper ticket after the holiday -- and enjoy a longer visit. FaceTime or Skype with remote loved ones. Remind them that you’re being smart with your money too!

                                                   Get started with Bright to budget for a true Thanksgiving.

The More, the Merrier

Many hands make light lifting. Many wallets make light credit card statements. Instead of one person doing all the hosting, divide responsibilities between everyone attending. Some may cook, some may clean, some may drive weary travelers, but all can contribute and all will save.

Getting more people together reaps economies of scale too. You can shop in bulk. For the price of 3 pounds of potatoes at the grocery store you can get fifteen pounds at a big box retailer. Besides the extra savings, more people equals more community, which makes for a bigger celebration.

If you are determined to handle the hosting yourself, don’t be afraid to ask guests for specific things - a fancy dessert, expensive wine, or once-a-year kitchenware like a roasting pan. Your guests will feel included in the event, and you’ll all have more to be thankful for. 

Smarter Shopping

Budget doesn’t have to mean basic. With smart shopping strategies, you can have a top-tier turkey day on a budget.

  • Research prices and find deals. Try to buy canned or frozen items before Thanksgiving week when supplies run out and prices go up. 
  • Buy store-brand products when possible. Basics like baking supplies, herbs and spices are pretty much the same at any price point.
  • Shop around. You can find healthy, organic options at discount chains, along with excellent wine and liquor values. Discount clothing stores have great deals on decorations and candles as well as cheap basics like plates, utensils and tablecloths.

Bright keep you true to you

Bright can help you stay true to your priorities throughout the holidays -- and the rest of the year.

Bright’s MoneyScience™ studies your spending habits, learns about your goals, then builds a personal Bright Plan - a step-by-step guide for all your finances. 

Bright can help keep your spending on track, moving funds when it makes sense, making payments for you, giving your credit score a boost and building your savings, automatically. 

If you don’t have it yet, download the Bright app from the App Store or GooglePlay. Connect your checking account and your cards, set a few goals and let Bright do the rest.

Recommended Readings:

7 ways gig workers can budget smart

How to hack holiday gift guides

Pranay Chirla
Technical Content Writer
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