Financial lessons to learn from hosting a Thanksgiving dinner

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is no small undertaking. There are several valuable takeaways from the holiday season, but the Thanksgiving table has an ocean of valuable financial lessons.
Financial lessons to learn from hosting a Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving is here and it’s a treasured time to gather with friends and family over an unforgettable feast. From party planning and grocery shopping to cooking and décor, Thanksgiving can get tedious both physically and financially. However, there are some lessons too.
In this article

Did you know that prepping for a Thanksgiving dinner can teach us some valuable financial lessons? Here’s the deal though. While hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be an achievement in itself, don’t neglect your financial goals that require a plan of action, a budget to match and a process when everything goes awry.

Life can come at you fast just like that hot turkey flying out of the oven. To ensure that doesn’t happen, we’re here to help you get on track with your finances with these valuable lessons.

It pays well to budget

It is super easy to get carried away with shopping and prepping. However, a 30-pound turkey is no drop in the bucket. That is why you need to set clear spending guidelines or Thanksgiving can quickly get expensive. Hence, you need a budget. Before the big T-day, get a grip on your costs. Here’s what you can do:

  • Do a guest headcount.
  • List the basics of the meal that you need like a turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a pie.
  • List the extras that you’d want like a specialty pie (dark chocolate bourbon pecan pie, anyone?) or extra sides.
  • Estimate the cost.
  • Check if it fits your budget.

If it does, good for you. If it doesn’t don’t worry, you could cut down on your wants. Thanksgiving dinner alone is a perfect lesson on budgeting. When you know how much you need to spend ahead of time, you’ll give yourself more time to save for the expensive meal.

Don’t forget, this year is set to feature the most expensive Thanksgiving dinner ever and we’ve rounded up some interesting Thanksgiving money facts. Moreover, here are some ways you can pick up some Thanksgiving side hustles to make some extra cash.

It’s all about the plan 

Making a budget for Thanksgiving might have you realize that you need a plan to ensure this everything goes smoothly. Menus and recipes help us plan the ingredients we need to buy and we also need some time to set the dinner table and cook all the meals we want to serve.

Similarly, in finance, ensure to plan your expenses in a way that you have enough to save for things you want to do and your future. Here’s how you can host a Thanksgiving meal without breaking your budget.

Just wing it sometimes

Sometimes, just sometimes, improvising is necessary. Sometimes you’ve done everything from your end you budgeted well, you got your calculations right, even the cooking time for each dish down to the minute. But the unexpected can happen! Dinner rolls can burn, the turkey might fall on the floor just as it slides out of the oven and so on. Let’s be honest. We’re not new to this!

This can happen in life as well, including our best financial plans. Even your best financial plans can go off course. In moments like these take a moment to yell at those burnt dinner rolls, when that is said and done regroup, pull yourself together and adjust to your unforeseen circumstances. You can and will recover.

Go the extra mile

Prepare for the extras. Thanksgiving is when you anticipate unexpected visitors. What are you going to do if Aunt Karen from the neighborhood invites herself to your dinner party?

What happens if your uncle decides to have three extra-large helpings of mashed potatoes or your dog eats up your rolls? That’s why this story has all the financial lessons you need to know from hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.

If you want your dinner party to run smoothly then budget for more than you need. Take the same approach to your finances and savings especially when you’re planning for retirement. Start saving early and when and allow the magic of compound interest to unfurl. Save up your extras as well. This will help you worry less when you’re closer to retirement.

You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Grocery Shopping

Protecting yourself, your food and your finances

You’re most likely to place a trivet on your dining room table to protect it from the heat that comes from your warm apple pie. Similarly, learn how to protect your bank account. Become familiar with how to protect your finances. This will prevent you from running into a potential finance issue down the road and ensure you’ve learnt valuable financial lessons from hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.

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Shirlene Grace Isaac

Shirlene puts words on the Internet because she loves to do so and also for the money! She is a singer, songwriter, occasional poet, artist and muser — all in the body of a 20 something. She's a taleteller of sorts often looking for opportunities to narrate stories untold.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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