Paycheck Chronicles

Make Turkey Day Simple & Cheap

Thanksgiving is just four days away, and people everywhere are making preparations.  I want to remind you that while it may be my favorite holiday, there is no reason for it to break the bank or make you crazy.

The main reasons that I love Thanksgiving is because it is about family and food without all the present pressure.  However, just because there are no gifts doesn't mean that Thanksgiving is a simple affair.  There's a huge meal to prepare, and if you're having guests, there is all the "get ready for company" drama.  Add in a splash of Pinterest-induced perfection syndrome, and things could get crazy and expensive.

I am here to tell you that Thanksgiving is going to feel a lot more thankful if you back off on the crazy-elaborate menu and over-the-top placesettings and decorations.  Pare your menu back to the items that your family absolutely want.  I did a poll here and discovered that the only things my kids care about are the mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.  Oh, and pie.  Must not forget the pie.  I'll add in a turkey breast and a vegetable for good measure, but I'm letting everything else go.  No green bean casserole, no rolls, no extra dishes just because.  And you know what?  I think my Thursday will be more fun, and I know that Friday and Saturday will be better when I'm not trying to process six tons of leftovers.

The other thing that can get a little crazy at Thanksgiving is making sure your home is perfect.  You know what?  Your guests don't care if their glasses match.  They don't care if they have crafty placecards.  They don't care if you have turkey motif bathroom decorations.  They didn't come to your house to critique your holiday spirit, they came to enjoy the day with you!  Please, please, please do not spend time or money on decorations, tableware, or any other last minute "necessary" items.  There is an outstanding chance that you'll never miss it if you choose not to buy it, but you will remember the extra stress, and you'll remember the cost when you balance your budget for the month.  Just say "no!"

Thanksgiving should be a calm, pleasant day of family, friends, and thankfulness.  Don't let your enthusiasm let you get carried away.  Enjoy a peaceful, budget friendly holiday without all the extra stuff.

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