by Bobbi Pack from

Wow, can you believe it!? Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I was hit with a huge “idea” from my husband…he said we are hosting Thanksgiving for all his single soldiers, AND extending the invite to several families who aren’t going home for the holiday.  EEEKKK…I have to cook for how many and on how small of a budget…OK, so I did not say no, I just hit the books and came up with a way to serve an amazing Thanksgiving on a tight budget.  It’s totally possible to host an amazing, mouthwatering Thanksgiving feast on a tight budget…..I mean The Pilgrims were on a budget and they helped invent Thanksgiving..right!?! If they could do it so could I!

Here is what I came up with:

  1. Accept help and go potluck.

Bring a dish to share

I really wanted to be the holiday hero, tackling the entire menu.  But, then reality hit and I realized, that was not going to happen.  I mean, hosting Thanksgiving for a HUGE crowd that was going to be a potluck-style holiday at heart…so why not accept help and get everyone involved.  This is a great way to start a few of my own traditions with new friends and share costs.

  1. Stick to your shopping list.

GUILTY! I am so guilty of getting so excited for the holidays I often go off the shopping list and grab everything! Well, not this time, I have about 50 people to cook for…oh my goodness that’s a lot, but I can do it! So, I used my favorite online shopping list, which is free by the way, and wrote out a menu to go along with my budget and stuck to it! Don’t forget to take advantage of all the November deals, many items on your list may be freezable and better priced at the beginning of the month.  Oh yes, very important don’t forget your coupons!!

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  1. Do without the alcohol.

OK, there is going to be a ton of food on Thanksgiving, so pass the alcohol, use sparkling juice…it’s cheaper! Or, if you simply must have some amazing wine with your turkey, ask your guests 21 or older to grab an inexpensive bottle at the Class 6.

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4.  Only share the dishes you love the most!

OK, I am Italian and yes I do love to cook….cook a lot! However, when I am cooking for 50 people having 20 plus dishes I cook myself would be way too much, I would be cooking for a week before Thanksgiving! So, I decided to pick my favorite, “can’t live without” foods, and ask the soldiers to bring a dish.  I assigned all the soldiers whose last names begin with A-E to bring an appetizer and so on.

  1. Decorate with what you already have.

Bobbi ThanksgivingOK…OK…OK…Do not go all out with the decorations.  I decided the guests are coming for the food and football…so why worry about the decorations.  I hit the Dollar Tree and only spent $20 on cute decorations.  I also took $10 of the $20 and purchased craft items for the kiddos who are coming…I have teenagers and no toys, so I thought I better keep the kiddos entertained, and what better way than with crafts!

Just remember no matter what you decide to do, and no matter how many people you are cooking for, do not go overboard and kill yourself trying to create the most elaborate meal.  Your guests are coming to your home to spend time with you—not your food and decorations.  Yes the meal is important, and yes we all want it to taste amazing; however, make what you can, delegate out responsibilities, and focus on the company and of course football!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

What are your tips for hosting Thanksgiving on a tight budget? Share in the comments Bobbi at Disneysection below.


Thank you to Bobbi Pack from MyMilitarySavings for these fabulous ideas