So you offered to host Friendsgiving this year…now what? While it’s true your apartment barely has the floor space to hit a viral dance move (are we still flossing, BTW?), your spot is the most centrally located amongst friends, so it makes sense. And after Nicole’s burnt take on Thanksgiving fare last year, pretty much anything you put on the table will impress your crew.
Luckily, no one is expecting a Real Housewives-level bash—nor do they need one—to have a good time. Especially since Friendsgiving is all about spending time with your chosen fam, don’t feel pressured to go all out and rack up credit card debt over the get-together. Be realistic and honest about your budget, and stick to it with the money-saving tips ahead.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to partaking in annual turkey gatherings, or you’re an unapologetic Friendsgiving n00b, follow these no-fail pointers for proof that a cheap Friendsgiving is possible.
Start planning early
Finding a date that will work for 10 different people is never easy, so send out your group text invite as early as possible to field dates that work for everyone. And don’t forget to peruse the Halloween leftovers for some on-sale party favors and seasonal decor.
Make it a potluck
Divide and conquer the labor (and cost) to take some of the pressure off. Assign everyone a dish and urge your guests to be on time. Because no one wants to be that person who strolls in with their Grandma’s famous mac & cheese hours late after everyone’s already full.
Nix the turkey
This might be blasphemous to traditionalists, but if you truly don’t care about the turkey, or are catering to those with dietary restrictions, pick a veggie option. It’ll likely be much more affordable, and won’t require the hours of prep that a turkey might. CBF.
Have your party catered
While that might sound counterintuitive to those looking to save big, outsourcing all of the work means you can focus on some of the other fun party-planning elements, like decorations and entertainment. Have your guests pitch in $5 or $10 per plate if everyone agrees that catering is the way to go. Just don’t surprise everyone with a required donation.
Pick your spirit
Alcohol can be one of the more costly aspects of hosting a party, so settle for one type of alcohol and build your drinks around that.
Ransack the .99 cent store
If there’s one thing you won’t want to do after your Friendsgiving party is over, it’s everyone else’s dishes. So hit up the dollar store for plates, cups, napkins, utensils, and more to avoid dish-duty at all costs. You can also score some cheap canned items like cranberry sauce, green beans, boxed stuffing, etc. to round out your menu.
Use the equipment you have
In lieu of renting fancy speakers for your shindig, consider hooking up your playlist to your TV. Most systems have bluetooth capabilities so you can project whatever’s on your phone to the TV screen and make use of its sound system. Another cheap (read: free) entertainment idea: Stream your favorite Thanksgiving-themed movies and TV episodes. And don’t be shy about busting out classic board games, cards, or dice to get some healthy competition going.
Get creative with dessert
Consider a dessert beverage this year, like hot cocoa, to cut down on your total expenditures. Or prepare batch desserts like a huge sheet pan of brownies. Prepping traditional pies isn’t an absolute deal-breaker, but they don’t serve as many people so depending on your number you might want to opt for treats that will get you a better bang for your buck.