How to host ‘Friendsgiving’ on a budget

Flat-lay of friends eating at Thanksgiving Day table with pumpkin pie, roasted vegetables, fruit and rose wine, top view


Thanksgiving for many Americans means celebrating with close or extended family and a feast of turkey, ham or an alternative main dish. Folks who are unable to make it home for the holiday or want to celebrate with friends might consider hosting a “Friendsgiving.” But if you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving or any other dinner party, you know the costs can add up quickly.

Use these tips to host Friendsgiving on a budget:

— Make it potluck style.

— Focus on sides or desserts.

— Keep drink choices light.

— Don’t go crazy on snacks and appetizers.

— Host a baking party.

— Skip decorations or make your own.

— Consider a leftovers party.

— Volunteer.

— Abandon tradition and get creative.

Read on for more advice on a budget-friendly Friendsgiving.

[Read: Cheap Foods to Buy When You’re Broke.]

Make It Potluck Style

There can be pressure to not burden your guests by asking them to bring a dish. On the contrary, hosting a potluck will make your meal more interesting by adding flavors from various kitchens to your table. Assign categories like desserts or side dishes and let your friends show off their culinary skills.

Budget Ahead of Time

Don’t jump into planning your Friendsgiving without doing a little homework. First, decide how much you can afford to spend on the event, then check out some grocery prices to determine how much you can spend per person. Make sure your guest list doesn’t exceed that limit or plan to have your guests contribute.

[See: How to Save Money When Grocery Shopping on a Budget.]

Focus on Sides or Desserts

Save money on a turkey or ham that could feed a family and limit your Friendsgiving meal to sides or desserts. Gathering your friends around a table, putting the phones down and enjoying a meal will make for a great time, regardless of what food you serve.

Keep Drink Choices Light

Hosts and hostesses often want to please everyone, which can wind up costing a lot if they’re buying everyone’s favorite drink. Keep your choices simple by offering basic drinks like water, iced tea and lemonade. They’re easy to whip up in large batches and super cost-effective.

Don’t Go Crazy on Snacks and Appetizers

In the same regard, don’t worry so much about having appetizers. If you plan on having some mingling time before your actual meal, it may behoove you to put together some crudites, but don’t go crazy. Go for substance over quantity, and you’ll limit spending and avoid dealing with tons of leftovers.

Host a Baking Party

If you want to avoid buying a ton of ingredients you won’t use again, consider throwing a cooking party with friends. Shop together for ingredients or ask everyone to pitch in, then cook together and share your bounty. This creates another fun event for your party and helps cut down on costs for everyone.

Skip Decorations or Make Your Own

Decorations may not have even crossed your mind, but if you are worried about dressing up your home for your party, consider making your own decorations. With plenty of templates online for fun calligraphy signs or turkey hands, you can certainly make your home more festive with little or no budget.

[READ: How to Eat Organic on a Budget.]

Consider a Leftovers Party

Instead of planning a whole new meal, encourage your friends to bring leftovers from their family meals for a reheated potluck dinner. Add sandwich supplies to allow guests to create the arguable highlight of the holiday: leftover sandwiches.


Instead of hosting your friends for a meal in your home, take your crew to your local soup kitchen or shelter and volunteer to serve a meal together. You’ll do a service to your community, spend time with your existing friend group and make new friends along the way.

Abandon Tradition and Get Creative

Friendsgiving is a made-up word that describes having a dinner party with friends in the month of November. Remember this when you’re planning. There are no rules, and your mother won’t be around to tell you how you should cook. Plan a meal that makes sense for your friend group and your wallet. There’s no shame in a ramen-themed Friendsgiving. The joy of eating together in community is what the season is all about.

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How to Host ‘Friendsgiving’ on a Budget originally appeared on

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