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top_tips_for_sticking_to_a_thanksgiving_budgetIt’s time to talk turkey.  With  just over a week away, you are probably rolling up your sleeves and beginning the preparations for this big day.  And a big day it is- just take a look at the following statistics from the Statistic Brain Research Institute:   

*Total number of turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving Day: 51,150,000

*Total U.S. spending on Thanksgiving dinner food: $2,875,000,000

*Average household spending on Thanksgiving dinner: $56.18

*Average household spending on Thanksgiving weekend: $312

If you are one of the many people that feels anxious about the dent that Thanksgiving Day is going to put in your wallet even before you make that first trip to the grocery store, it’s time to put a plan of action into place.

A plan that includes a detailed budget will help prevent you from over-spending and keep you on track, which in turn will allow you to enjoy this special day for what it really is.

The budget: make a plan and stick with it

Before you do anything else, put together a Thanksgiving Day budget.  In doing so, try to consider every little thing that you might spend money on, from food to place settings to festive decorations to adult beverages.  Once you have listed out all of the things that you are going to need, assign a dollar amount to them and do whatever it takes not to spend a penny more.  Remember, although statistics show that the average household only spends $56.18 on Thanksgiving dinner, the actual amount that you spend that day can go up drastically once you add in decorations or any kind of wine or alcoholic beverages.

Thanksgiving dinner: make it a potluck

Over the past few years we’ve implemented a Thanksgiving strategy that it is helpful to everyone’s wallet.  The hosts of the Thanksgiving Day meal supply the turkey, and the guests bring all of the sides to supplement the big meal.  This is a great way for everyone to feel like they are pitching in and takes a  lot of stress off of the host/hostess at the same time.

Ask your friends or family to bring a special dish that reminds them of Thanksgiving dinners when they were young and they will be happy for the opportunity to walk down memory lane.  Get the children involved and have them help you out in the kitchen so that they can proudly display their hard work.  Suggest that everyone bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share with the group.

Decorations: decorate for less

If you go into a beautifully put together store like Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn this holiday season, chances are you will walk out spending way more on decorative items than you ever imagined.  And that is exactly what their job is- to make the sterling silver turkey napkin ring holder look like something that you just can’t live without!  I agree that these items are beautiful, but if you are sticking to a budget, consider some alternative retailers that sell similar items for a fraction of the cost such as Party City or Cost Plus.

Black Friday: shop only if you really need to

Are the Black Friday sales really worth it?  Have you found in the past that you over buy just because things are on sale?  Many people actually wind up spending more, not less.  Consider taking the year off from the mass chaos of the local mall and instead put that money towards something that really matters such as a charity or a cause that is close to your heart.  If you decide that Black Friday shopping is absolutely essential, be sure that you add it into your original budget.

Most importantly: remember what the season is really about

And last but not least, please keep in mind what this season is all about.  This is the time to celebrate the season itself and all of the significance that it holds.  It’s a time to be with people that you love, and to reflect on the things for which you feel thankful.  No one is going to remember next year if you served the best turkey they ever had on the most decorated table they have ever eaten on. They are going to remember that you spent this great day together.

Have you started your Thanksgiving Day preparations yet?Remember, step one is to create a budget, and step two is to stick with it!

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