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Frugal Thanksgiving Ideas: Living Simple

Updated on June 3, 2014

The Spirit of the Holidays

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? If you answered spending quality time with loved ones, then you have taken the first step towards having a frugal Thanksgiving meal. Remember as you read this that the most important point of Thanksgiving is to give thanks and to spend time with loved ones. It is not about money or finding out who can spend the most money on a lavish meal.

If you have a large family, or a ton of friends who come over for Thanksgiving, then you can be looking at a large cost for that meal. Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that might cut down on that meal cost.

Thanksgiving will be here soon. It is time to start planning, so let’s get started!

Traditional meal!
Traditional meal! | Source

Making That Meal

Everyone loves to eat the traditional turkey meal, but the preparation is another matter altogether. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, and on and on we go, and if you have a large family you are looking at a major expenditure of cash. Let’s see if we can’t cut down on that expense a bit.

· Shop ahead with coupons: From now until the week before Thanksgiving, keep on the lookout for coupons that might save you money. When you see a coupon for something you will need for your dinner, clip it and go get the item now. Don’t wait until November 20th to do your shopping. Keep an eye out for turkeys on sale now, as well as hams. Buy frugally now and freeze them until Thanksgiving.

· Bake your own pies! What does a pie cost at the grocery store? Most likely at least $10; you can bake a couple pies for that money, and chances are excellent that your pies are better than any store-bought pie.

· Have a potluck! Times are tough for everyone, so why not split the cost of the meal with everyone. Send everyone a list of items and have them choose one that they will be bringing to the dinner. This is a time-honored tradition and it makes everyone feel as though they are contributing to the meal preparation and cost.

· Save money after the meal by taking advantage of those leftovers. There are some great casseroles waiting for the creative chef, and make sure you hold onto that turkey carcass because you are looking at some great turkey soup.

Decorating Ideas

It is always nice to have the house decorated in Fall colors for the Thanksgiving meal, but my goodness, decorations cost money! Well, they don’t have to, and with a little thought and creativity you can provide the perfect holiday ambience for your friends and loved ones.

· Decorate using nature! Gather up some autumn leaves, place them in a bowl as a liner, and then put nuts or fruit in the bowl.

· Pine cones are always a great centerpiece; you can also use pumpkins or gourds in the home for a nice festive touch.

· Dried hydrangea leaves and flowers are always beautiful; pick some, tie a string around them, and put them in a vase.

· Pick-up sticks! Yes, that’s right, use small branches from your trees or shrubs, but them in a vase, and you will be amazed how great they look.

· Great craft idea for kids: have them make placemats for the dishes. You can follow these instructions if you don’t have any ideas of your own.

· Another great craft idea for the kids: have them make turkeys using paper sacks. Here are some simple instructions to follow that will give the kids ownership of part of the preparations.

· Go to the thrift store and shop around for Thanksgiving decorations. Many times you can find everything you want for pennies on the dollar.

Homemade decorations are beautiful
Homemade decorations are beautiful | Source

Remember What Is Truly Important

Yes, Living Simple is about saving money, but it is also about returning to a simpler way of living. The Thanksgiving meal is about breaking bread with loved ones; it should not be about a lavish spread and going into debt.

Toss some ideas around with family! Tell them that you are into frugal living and get suggestions from them. Once you have planted the seed you might be surprised how everyone else will get on board.

I am reminded of a time, back in 1984, when we were having our first Thanksgiving after adopting our son. He was one month old as Thanksgiving arrived, and we had invited our best friends to our home to share the celebration with them.

We had gone out and purchased food enough for twenty people, and gone around buying decorations so our house would look just right. Little did we know that a rare November snowstorm was about to hit Western Washington. It began snowing about four a.m. that Thanksgiving day, and by nine, with the turkey in the oven, eight inches of snow had fallen and the power went out.

Our friends arrived by noon and by that time the carefully-planned meal was a complete disaster. No problem! We piled into the four-wheel drive, drove into town where a fast food restaurant was open, and we all sat down to a great meal of hamburgers and fries and had the time of our lives, laughing and sharing in each other’s love.

Those lessons do not go away! Thanksgiving is all about love and has nothing to do with money.

Life frugally…..and have a wonderfully frugal and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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