Fabulous Frugal Finds

Thanksgiving on a Budget

Earlier this week at a segment on Global Regina I spoke about Thanksgiving prep tips and ways to utilize leftovers. Pound for pound, a turkey is a good purchase because it can feed a large group and the leftovers can also be utilized in a variety of ways. I stated that, back in my grandparent’s day, a turkey was also considered a good purchase and they ensured that every part was used, because times were tough and they knew how to make a meal and food expense last. In this and many ways I think we need to return to that manner of thinking.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate among family and friends (Friendsgiving!) and to give thanks for all the goodness in our lives. That said, beyond the turkey there’s of course side dishes, desserts and beverages to buy and it shouldn’t break the bank, or your monthly budget. Whether hosting a dinner or attending as a guest, there are ways to be budget savvy and keep costs down while still celebrating the season.

Create a Budget (and stick to it!)

Always stick with a budget when planning a larger meal. Shop flyers to see what’s on sale before deciding what’s on the table. Take advantage of budgeting and mobile banking apps to help you monitor your spending in real-time. If you’re hosting and people ask what they can bring, you can definitely cut costs by suggesting they bring an appetizer or dessert. If you’re a guest, your costs are reduced significantly so of course offer to bring a side or dessert (and again, shop the flyers to decide what that item will be!)

Monitor Your Spending

While you might be tempted to save your credit card for larger purchases, paying for groceries on your credit card while staying within your limit and paying at least the monthly minimum monthly payment required is a helpful way to rebuild your credit. Smaller purchases – like your thanksgiving meal – are usually ones you can can feel more confident about paying off in full. Using a credit card, such as the Capital One Guaranteed Mastercard, also gives you an easy-to-view  record of your spending so you can see if you’re staying within budget.  Unlike cash, your credit card also provides a record of your transactions. This means you can’t deny that daily $5 latte stop is probably a bad idea when trying to cut unnecessary expenses (sorry, I like them too!)

Practice Smart Spending Habits

Consider making those Thanksgiving meal purchases with your credit card while staying within your credit limit. If your card offers a rewards program, this is a great way to rack up points on your everyday spending while also seeing day to day where your money is going and where you can cut back. And if your card doesn’t have rewards, you can still build your credit by demonstrating a track record of spending within your limit and making payments on time. I pay off my credit card monthly, but it hasn’t always been that way and I realize that’s not possible for many families. Ensuring that you’re at least making the minimum payments  on time and staying within your limit will help you build your credit score.

Holidays and family gatherings shouldn’t be stressful, but if you start practicing good spending and budgeting habits now, the holidays ahead won’t be filled with worry or anxiety on how much you spent, but rather on focusing on the moment at hand. Big events always have the potential to throw off your budget, so stay on task, remain focused, and then take a moment to thank yourself too for your work and diligence on keeping a budget and building good credit too1

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Capital One Canada. All opinions and commentary are, as always, my own.


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  • This time of year is always when I start to think more and more about budgeting with the holidays just around the corner. Thanks for the tips!

  • This is awesome advice I love rewards and I always pay on time; I dont think I benefit from the rewards by having to pay a late payment fee or interest

  • Great tips and your Autumn decor is just lovely. I take the same approach to my credit card spending as well. I put my purchases on the card to earn points and then pay it off fully every month.

  • I have learned after many years of stressing out hosting the dinner, it’s not all that hard and no need to stress, I like to do all my stuff ahead of time and I purchase when everything is on sale, and I don’t buy extras, I found if I did it all went to waste anyways, so I stick to the basics and everyone still leaves full!

  • It’s always best to pay off your credit card in full each month whenever possible – the interest on the money you otherwise owe is huge!

  • oh my gosh i am absolutely loving your fall decor!! I always go they other way and do totally scary lol. but love the look of the beautiful pieces

  • Great advice and honestly i find making a Turkey dinner much more budget friendly than like entertaining with appies

  • I try to save up and use reward points to help me out over the holidays – it can often add up to a lot!

  • our thanksgiving is very basic, we do not even eat dessert! So I stick to buying just the basics and maybe an extra turkey as they are on sale and nice to have one in the freezer!

  • I’m budget conscious all year round. I plan my meals around in season fruits/veg and of course what is on sale.

  • Thanks for sharing your saving tips. I love all your decorating and especially your outdoor display. It is so cute!

  • We never charge anything during the holidays. We have a frozen Turkey in our freezer that was $1.50 a pound, bought at Thanksgiving with PC Points.

  • I always price match to get the best deal and I buy items for the pantry when they are on sale. I also use coupons every week and money back apps. After the turkey is cleaned off we always make turkey with barley soup. So nice this time of year.

  • Our entire family pitches in now to make Thanksgiving & other holiday gatherings way less stressful. We all pitch in a small amount of money, my sister brings the dessert, I bring the potato dish, and my parents utilize their credit card & PC card to earn rewards for the rest. Plus this year my mom had enough PC points to receive the turkey for free so that really helped cut down costs!

  • Great tips. Thank you for sharing. I always check the flyers for sales and purchase items in advance. It helps to keep the stress levels down.

  • I don’t decorate for Thanksgiving really so that is one thing I do not stress over. So much more in life to add stress than worrying about what decoration to put out at Thanksgiving. I don’t stress over the holidays as much as I used to. I buy the basics and I don’t over cook food, meaning, I don’t make a huge buffet that is going to go to waste. If I do have any leftovers, I always use it to make many different meals as well. I buy on sale and I don’t use a credit card ( I don’t believe in them). My mom was very frugal and I learned how to make food stretch, especially the Turkey, every part got used for something. Only thing that went to the garbage was the bones after every bit of meat was off of them.

  • I don’t really stress about budget as we don’t go extreme with holidays. We just do basics. Good tips though.

  • I have finally learned to downsize my meal , we dont have as many guests as we used to and I found myself going all out still for holiday meals , this thanksgiving I toned it down quite a bit and it really helped the budget end of it .

  • The end of summer is always a little depressing for our family so we love to decorate for fall and get into the Halloween spirit. Thanks for the great tips.

  • I have a leaf blower before but it did not do the job at all. It was awkward to move around and not much pressure. I know that this Hoover High Performance is just what I need. We have a paved driveway and our yard is full of leaves. It’s such a job to rake all these leaves every year and with my sore shoulder, I could really use this blower!!

  • It’s actually the PERFECT time of year to start smart spending habits with the Christmas holidays QUICKLY approaching! It definitely makes it a little less stressful when money isn’t as much of a worry