How to Throw a Thanksgiving Dinner on the Cheap


Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  It’s a time to come together, give thanks, and enjoy each other’s company.  If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for your friends, family, and/or loved ones it can get expensive quick.  BUT there’s no need to stress.  I’m here to show you how to throw a Thanksgiving dinner for less without cutting corners on the food!  Okay, let’s get started.

1. Plan ahead and set your budget

Most importantly, plan ahead.  This allows you to figure out how many people to invite and what you’ll need.  By planning ahead, you can shop for deals, look for coupons, look at flyers, and set your budget.  This is key. 

2. Points

Several stores have a point system, so you can use points to buy groceries or earn them on your purchase.  You can redeem points for money with Air Miles (Cash Rewards 95 points=$10), Save on Foods, PC PlusShoppers Drug Mart and more, to purchase food for your dinner.  If you don’t have enough points, then earn points on your grocery purchase.  Safeway is having an Air Miles deal this weekend when you spend $50, you’ll get 50 bonus Air Miles.  On Saturday and Sunday, Shoppers Drug Mart is having a surprise point event, where you spend $75 and can earn 18,500 or 38,000 or 50,000 optimum points.  I know you can’t get your turkey from Shoppers Drug Mart, but you can buy your canned and packaged foods, dessert and extras there. 

3. Potluck

Provide the meat and (non-alcoholic) drinks and ask everyone to bring a side dish.  Don’t feel bad.  I find whenever I tell friends not to bring something, they do anyways.  People don’t like to come empty-handed, so hold back on making too much food by including this on the invite.

4. Meat

If you forego the potluck idea, whether you’re buying turkey, ham, or tofurkey, there’s always a deal somewhere.  I’ve seen turkey for as low as .85 cents a pound this year (Superstore) and ham $10 for 1.7kg ham.  Look at flyers ahead of time to find the best deals.

5. Vegetables and Sides

There’s always good deals on vegetables, cranberries, stuffing and gravy whether you buy them fresh or in a can/pre-packaged.  Also, buy vegetables in season for October, it’ll be cheaper than vegetables that are out of season.  To find the best deals ahead of time, check Red Flag Deals for this weeks flyers of your favourite stores.

6. Dessert

If you’re a baker at heart, then you probably have the majority of the ingredients in your pantry to make dessert, however, if you aren’t, you can easily buy delicious pre-made desserts from any store.  Walmart and Costco both have desserts on for good deals.  If you’re having a big party, I suggest buying it from Costco.


If you provide thanksgiving dinner, ask your guests to bring their drink of choice. 

8. Decorating

Find your white indoor Christmas lights and hang them on the walls.  Make decorations with streamers, pom poms or other craft supplies.  Put candles out.  Buy fake flowers from the dollar store and put together a flower arrangement for the table.  You don’t have to go all out for Thanksgiving, but if you want to decorate, here are some cute simple ideas from Buzz Feed.

9. Music

Crank up the falls hottest tunes or your family and friends favourite music from your phone, mp3 player, or from your digital or HD box (music channels) on your TV.  There are some really great free music apps, like Songza or YouTube, that offer a variety of music.

10. Games

Play interactive games that you can easily make.  Are there any games collecting dust in your closet?  If not, download the app Charades! onto your phone or tablet and play!  It’s free and easy to use.  Check out The Daily Mail as they have some homemade game suggestions.  Also, Apartment Therapy has thanksgiving themed homemade game ideas on their site. 

11. Movies

For the post-food dinner belly, you might just want to sit back and relax and what better way to do that than to watch a movie.  Pick out an old DVD or sign-up for a free 30 day trial of Netflix or Shomi, which are both movie streaming programs.

Hope this helps you save for your Thanksgiving dinner!  Don’t forget, to stay up to date with all of the latest deals and saving tips, subscribe to our blog via RSS feed, e-mail, or Twitter on the right side panel.  Before you go though, make sure to comment below with your money-saving tips for Thanksgiving dinner!  We’d love to hear from you!  


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