Friendsgiving Ideas: How to Host on a Budget

friendsgiving ideasEveryone around you has started trying to firm up Thanksgiving travel plans, and grocery stores are bombarding you with Thanksgiving-related deals and coupons. It’s that time of year again. Whether you’re visiting family in your hometown for Thanksgiving or not, you might be looking for a way to show how thankful you are for your friends. Enter – Friendsgiving. Friendsgiving may have been popular for a few years now, but it’s still a fun way to gather everyone together before the holiday season begins in earnest to celebrate a great year.

Hosting a Friendsgiving celebration can be tons of fun – but it can also get expensive, fast. A whole turkey, a full bar, and side dishes add up quickly. If you’re trying to save for holiday shopping or to meet end-of-year savings goals, hosting a traditional Thanksgiving meal for friends on top of travelling for the holiday itself may sound daunting, but fear not. Follow these four Friendsgiving ideas, and you’ll be hosting Friendsgiving for as little as $45 or less.

Friendsgiving ideas: Divide and conquer

You don’t have to do it all on your own! Hosting does mean that you need to provide the location and, traditionally, the main dish for the meal, but it doesn’t mean you need to make everything from the cranberry sauce to the mashed potatoes. Hand some of the responsibility off to your guests, and enjoy a potluck-style celebration.

The biggest challenge with this approach? Making sure every category is covered, and you don’t end up with five pumpkin pies. A Google doc sign-up sheet is one of our Friendsgiving ideas that’s key to a successful night. Either create a menu and have everyone sign up, or, once everyone has RSVP’d, make a list of all the guests and have everyone put in what they’ll bring. If you go with the second option, make sure to check that you have a cohesive meal once they’ve signed up!

This gives everyone ownership over the meal, reduces your stress on the day, and lowers the cost for you. You’ll only need to pay for one dish!

Don’t get stuck on turkey

Turkey might be the traditional choice, but there’s no reason you have to serve the full bird. Especially if you don’t have many guests coming, a full turkey might not make much sense – and, it’s pretty expensive.

Opt for cheaper (and easier to prepare) turkey breast. You won’t risk messing up the main dish if you’re not familiar with cooking turkey, and you’ll save money. Other options include a full chicken (cheaper, easier to cook) or burgers (less traditional, and any vegetarians in the group can do veggie burgers easily).

Drinks for less

Other than the turkey, one of the host’s biggest financial responsibilities is providing drinks. If you try to put out a full bar, beer, and wine, you’ll be over budget before you know it. Make a big batch of prepared cocktails instead. Check out these tasty recommendations for ideas. It’s easier to mask less expensive ingredients, yummy, and festive. Supplement with large wine bottles (more bang for your buck!), or bulk buy beer. You could also assign bringing supplementary alcohol to a guest, if you have enough coming.


Dressing up your apartment or home doesn’t have to break the bank. Most cheap Friendsgiving ideas for decorating on a budget are good for the planet, too. Ever hosted a similar event before, or any other fall-related party? Scour your storage spots for any decor that can be reused. If not, check out your local dollar store, or even look around outside for autumnal decor (if you live in a non-urban area – don’t steal your neighbor’s garden!). You shouldn’t need to spend more than $10 to get your space ready for Friendsgiving!

Follow these four Friendsgiving ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to planning a celebration that’ll leave some money in the bank. So, send out your invites, set up the Google Docs, start planning, and have a happy Friendsgiving!

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