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Be thankful, not broke: Friendsgiving on a budget

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la –

Hold up! Before you whip out the eggnog, don’t forget there’s another holiday between Halloween and Christmas. You know the one, where stretchy pants are part of the dress code so you can devour ALL the stuffing and cranberry sauce.

While a dinner in your hometown is sometimes the preferred way to spend Thanksgiving, the financial impact can be daunting. On average in the United States, more than $2.9 million dollars is spent on Thanksgiving dinner food, and the average household spending clocks in at around $342 for the weekend. This is why many Americans are opting for a “Friendsgiving” instead, celebrating Thanksgiving locally with friends. It’s a popular way of saving time, travel and, most of all, money.

Friendsgiving InfographicHere are some tips for hosting a fun and frugal Friendsgiving:

  • DIY decorations: Pinterest is always your friend when it comes to holiday gatherings, especially when trying to save money. Instead of spending a ton on decorations you’ll only use once, head to your local dollar store and see what you can pick up to create a festive ambiance for your pals.
  • Potluck it up: There’s no reason to take on all the cooking yourself, and a potluck is a fun way to test out different recipes. Create a Facebook event for your Friendsgiving, and ask everyone to post what they’re bringing – that way there aren’t any duplicates (although, you can never have too many mashed potatoes, am I right?).
  • BYOB: This is an obvious one, but beverages can really add up – not to mention it’s hard to please everyone’s taste buds! Be clear that everyone should bring their favorite beverage and, for a fun twist, have them bring their own glasses as well! Then your table will be a fun display of your guests’ individuality.
  • Tap your friends for furniture: You’re probably thinking, “Where is everyone going to sit?!” This is where, yet again, your friends come in – someone is bound to have a folding table stored away in their garage. All you have to do is ask. Even if it’s a tight squeeze in an apartment, fun will still be had by all!

The holidays can be a stressful time (just ask Monica, who ended up with a turkey stuck on her head in that episode of “Friends”). And it’s typically expensive. So why not test out something new to make it easier on everyone?

What are your favorite ways to save around the holidays?

Samantha Delgado – Manager – Communications, PR & Corporate Responsibility, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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