You may not find it on an official calendar anywhere, but Friendsgiving is a newer holiday that has gained popularity in recent years. Much like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time to gather around the table with loved ones in the spirit of tradition and gratitude, but with your friends rather than relatives. This spin on the traditional holiday is particularly popular with young adults and college students, who can’t always afford to travel home for Thanksgiving. While you may accidentally overeat during the delicious feast, you can do it without overspending. These tips will help you have a memorable and fun Friendsgiving while saving some money in the process.
Make it a Potluck
Friendsgiving is about spending time with the important people in your life, so no one should be stuck slaving away in the kitchen all day. By making your celebration a potluck, each person will be responsible for bringing one dish that can feed everyone. Not only will this save time, but it also saves money so one person isn’t responsible for feeding the crowd. Be sure to assign one dish to each person so you don’t get duplicates!
Pick a Signature Cocktail
While it might be tempting to put together an Instagram-worthy bar cart for your get together, trying to stock a full bar may send you over budget. Select a signature cocktail and make a large batch of it instead. You can also encourage your guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine or liquor to ensure there’s something that everyone enjoys.
Waiting until the last minute to finalize your game plan will not only cause you additional stress, but it may also cause you to spend too much money. Be sure to set an RSVP date so there are no last minute additions to the guest list and create a concise shopping list that ensures you don’t purchase more than you need. Take a tally of what you already have in the pantry and freezer so you can avoid buying duplicates.
Buy Frozen Vegetables
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to afford fresh and organic vegetables every time we visit the grocery store. Unfortunately, that isn’t a realistic part of a food budget for many people — and it certainly isn’t always realistic when you’re feeding a large group. If you’re in charge of one of the vegetable dishes, consider adjusting your recipe to use frozen vegetables rather than fresh. You’ll likely be able to find coupons or deals on these items.
Choose Affordable Protein
Turkey is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving, but it can be an expensive bird to put on the table. If your Friendsgiving squad is on the smaller side, opt for just turkey breast for a more affordable and easier to prepare option. Chicken or ham are other great choices that can be more budget-friendly as well.
Don’t Go Overboard with Turkey
If you decide to stick with traditional turkey for your meal, you can still save money by making sure you don’t go overboard with the size of your bird. It’s typically recommended to cook one pound of turkey per guest. If you want there to be leftovers, you can go up to 1.25 or even 1.5 pounds per person, but we recommend sticking to the one pound rule to help keep your budget intact.
Borrow Plates and Utensils
Once you’ve gotten a head count for your Friendsgiving gathering, check to see how many additional plates, utensils, and seats you’ll need to accommodate the crowd. Rather than purchasing these, ask if friends or neighbors have extra laying around that you can borrow for the evening. Purchasing or renting these items can put a huge dent in your expense budget, and it’s unlikely you’ll even use them again.
Skip the Fancy Dishware
Friendsgiving is all about spending time with people who you are close with, so luckily you don’t have to try and impress them or win them over. Don’t stress too much about using fancy serving dishes or a ceramic gravy boat for this get together — this day is all about focusing on friendship. Your guests likely won’t care if you put a baking sheet straight from the oven onto the table. Plus, it’ll help make cleanup a breeze!
DIY Decor + Printables
You can still make your house or apartment look Martha Stewart-worthy without spending a small fortune. Your local dollar store will likely have great seasonal options to help put together a tablescape that you can reuse year after year. We’ve also created a handful of printables to help take your decor to the next level without any major expenses.
Printable Place Cards
Even if your Friendsgiving dinner is just a few close friends sitting around the table, these printable place cards will elevate your tablescape and give it an elegant vibe. The place cards can also double as labels for the food — when guests arrive with their potluck dishes, and hand write what each dish is.
Printable Leftover Labels
No matter how well you plan your menu for the night, you’re bound to end up with leftovers. Have your guests bring their own tupperware containers, or pick up some disposable ones from the dollar store and use these leftover sticker labels so there’s no mystery as to what’s inside.
There’s no reason to spend a ton of money on decorations that you use once a year. Whether you choose to use these thankful quote designs as wall decorations or in frames on the dining table, these printables will help set the mood for your party.
It can be tempting to want to throw an epic Friendsgiving party for your guests, but remember the real reason that you get together for this day. It’s a day about being grateful for your friends and the people you care about, enjoying a great meal together, and celebrating all the things you are thankful to have in life. These budget-friendly tips are sure to help you pull of a wonderful celebration while keeping your wallets (and stomachs) full.