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.