Thanksgiving on a budget

Thanksgiving is about community and sharing, coming together for what we’re all grateful for. While delicious food will wow your friends and family, these are still economically challenging times. Delivering a budget friendly dinner not only benefits your wallet, but you don’t alienate others also working with limited funds. In other words, who wants to be the Diva who shows up with gold-dipped turkey lips while the rest of the family brought those dinner rolls that come from a can?  Awkward! Have no fear. We can help.

1. Simple is Spectacular: Though you regularly read all of Organic Authority’s delicious recipes, great ingredients need little help. Simple sautéed greens, or roasted pumpkin with a sprinking of mineral salt and maple sugar really doesn’t need much else. It’ll taste great and won’t cost you a week’s salary.

2. Local Yokel: Where ever you live, something is surely growing. Though it may not be cranberries or yams, focusing your meal on regional foods can be a really fun twist on Thanksgiving and cost you a lot less. You can also forage for wild fruits, herbs, mushrooms and greens, which are not only local and nutritious, but absolutely free!

3. Potluck Party: In the spirit of the holiday season, a great way to cut down on your costs is to ask everyone to bring a dish. It not only takes the financial and time pressure off of you, but it invites a communal atmosphere.  Letting everyone talk about their dish at the table is a fun ritual and shows how creative, diverse and unique this country really is.

4. Raid Your Pantry: One of the things I’m most guilty of during holiday meal planning is buying everything–again. I often find deep in the back of my cupboard and refrigerator plenty of ingredients I can use instead of buying new. Do a thorough sweep of your kitchen a week or so before your big shopping run. Look for spices, cans or cartons of veggie stock, bread crumbs, nuts, wild rice, or that canned pumpkin you forgot to use last year. Maybe you made your own preserves recently that can be integrated into your meal and not your bank account.

5. The Sweet Taste of Service: Though many of us are still recovering from the recession, there are many more who have not been as lucky. You might find the most filling and economical Thanksgiving meal can be had by Tevoing the football games, giving the oven a rest, packing a sandwich and heading down to your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to lend a hand to those most in need. Nothing says Thankful like being able to helping others.

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Photo by Stuart Pilbrow courtesy of Creative Commons