A Frugal Thanksgiving For Me And For You

It’s that time of year again, the leaves are crunchy, the sky is bluish-gray, and the turkey is in the oven. I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving has always been one of my all-time favorite holidays. I’m not sure if I just loved the smell of the food, watching the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade in our family room, or a combination thereof, but I have loved this holiday ever since I was a little girl in footsie pajamas. Ironically, Thanksgiving is also the perfect holiday for frugal folks. And since I grew up to be a frugal folk, it’s the perfect holiday for me – and for you!

Thanksgiving Day Is Upon Us


When I was a little girl I would get up at the crack of dawn to help my mom put the turkey in the oven. We made sure everything was prepared to perfection – the bird, the potatoes, and the green bean casserole. I can’t tell you how much I loved checking the turkey just so I could use the baster and admire our handy work. Back then, we used to just cook for our immediate family. But since I’m the youngest of 4 kids, it was still a full house with lots of food, fun, and fantastic memories.

In more recent years, the Thanksgiving torch has been passed to us. We have gleefully accepted this task and thoroughly enjoy preparing a frugal Thanksgiving feast and hosting our families. Frugal? Did someone say hosting Thanksgiving was a frugal affair? Why yes, yes I did say that. We have found that making a Thanksgiving dinner and hosting truly is a frugal event in our house.

A Frugal Thanksgiving


Mr. MMM and Mini squishing the leftover cranberry sauce into the sink. A Thanksgiving day tradition.

We typically host anywhere between 10 and 20 people each Thanksgiving. And as it turns out, having a frugal Thanksgiving really isn’t too difficult.

Since we buy groceries anyway, all we need to do is tweak our usual order to include all the holiday trimmings. And thankfully, tweaking our monthly grocery list doesn’t add any more cost to our bottom line.

On top of that, family and friends always offer to bring a dish or something else (read: alcoholic beverages) to share. We delight in taking them up on their offers as cooking EVERYTHING can be quite taxing. It’s nice to have a few side dishes and drinks, that we wouldn’t normally make, delivered straight to our table. Not only does it help with adding variety, but it also helps with cost and prep time.

I mean let’s face it, if someone offers to bring a casserole or a holiday spiked punch, I’m not going to turn either one down.

So what are the ingredients for a frugal Thanksgiving? Food, family, and fun. That’s it.

How We Make It Special


Cooking - Frugal Thanksgiving

Mr. MMM preparing the bird.

Making the Thanksgiving holiday special is easy when you surround yourself with family and friends. In our opinions, spending time with the people you love the most really is the best way to celebrate and enjoy any holiday.

So whether my mom is driving me crazy (sorry, mom) over the way I’m cooking the asparagus or Mr. MMM is rushing around like a madman, we love it all just the same. It all goes into making the holiday special, memorable, and fun.

And I must admit, I absolutely love conversing with different people. Unfortunately, we only get to see some of our guests on major holidays. The only good thing about the infrequency of these occasions is that good conversation is easy to find. And converse we do. There are times I can remember waking up on Black Friday with a raspy voice – and THAT is proof of a wonderfully frugal Thanksgiving.

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I often like to think about my life in terms of how I will feel about something years, or even decades, down the road. This type of analysis helps me with perspective. Not surprisingly, it really comes in handy around the holidays.

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I think about how I’ll feel about that particular thing or moment when I’m 80 years old, and usually, the chaos of the moment fades away.

Case in point, one year my potatoes had a few lumps – gasp! I felt terrible about it in that moment, and a few people (so nice of them) even made a comment or two. At the time, I immediately started apologizing and offering up the best lame excuses I could muster – and then I thought about the silliness of it all. I thought about how I would feel about my lumpy potatoes on that particular Thanksgiving when I was an old lady. After that analysis, I sat back, continued enjoying my meal, and made a few jokes myself.

Note: Obviously, no one really cared about a few lumps in my potatoes since they were completely devoured by the time the pumpkin pie made its appearance.

We’re Thankful This Year


Mad Money Cat - Frugal Thanksgiving

Mad Money Cat always enjoys a small Thanksgiving feast. #spoiledkitty

Because we like to keep things in perspective and not lose sight of the true purpose of the holiday, we try to keep a running list of everything we’re thankful for in our lives. And we are so completely thankful for so many things this year.

At the top of our list is the health and happiness of our family. We are both very aware that money means absolutely nothing if you’re not well enough to enjoy it.

If you’re interested in the rest of our list, here you go…

We’re Thankful For…

  • Our health and happiness (Mad Money Pets included)
  • Family and friends
  • A wonderful vacation at the beach
  • Thoughtful conversations
  • Our comfortable home
  • Dinners together
  • Bike rides along the river
  • Two successful careers
  • The amazing growth of our blog
  • All of the Mad Money Monster readers – you guys are the BEST!
  • Ooh…leftovers! We’re always thankful for Thanksgiving day leftovers!

What are you thankful for this year?


2 comments… add one
  • The 76K Project Nov 21, 2017, 10:21 pm

    I actually prefer mashed potatoes that *aren’t* super smooth. Delish!

    We’re joining friends for Thanksgiving this year, and I can’t wait. Everyone is bringing a side and some adult beverages. It should be a fantastic party.

    Enjoy the day!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 22, 2017, 9:25 am

      Thank you! Enjoy your day, as well!

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