How to Celebrate Friendsgiving on a Budget
The popularity of ‘Friendsgiving,’ a more relaxed alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving feast, shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, many Millennials say they prefer celebrating Friendsgiving because there’s less pressure and no family drama. But whether you celebrate Friendsgiving in place of or in addition to a typical Thanksgiving meal, you’ll want to do it affordably. Here are some tips to host Friendsgiving on a budget.
Friendsgiving is meant to be relaxing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan. A little advance prep goes a long way toward an enjoyable event. For starters, get the group to agree on a total budget. Even if you’re going potluck for the food, you’ll still need a pool of funds for decorations, drinks and miscellaneous expenses. Set manageable expectations that work for everyone so no one feels pressured to spend more than they can afford. You’ll also want to:
- Decide if it’s BYOB or if the host is providing drinks
- Organize the potluck using a group text, Facebook group or planning tool like PerfectPotluck.com
Choose a Payment App
Make it easy for everyone to contribute their share of the budget by choosing to use one payment app. Payment apps are helpful for avoiding those awkward money conversations and keeping an accurate record of who’s already paid and who still owes. Venmo and Zelle don’t charge any fees for transfers among friends; but folks should check with their banks to make sure there are no fees from that end. PayPal doesn’t charge a fee for transfers using a PayPal balance or bank account, but there is a small charge if you send personal payments with a credit or debit card.
Cook from Scratch
Cooking from scratch as much as possible will save a lot over buying prepared foods. Many popular dishes, including sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are surprisingly simple to prepare, even with minimal cooking expertise. If you have room in your kitchen, make cooking the meal a group activity. It’s a fun way to spend time together and you’re sure to have at least one skilled cook in the group.
Don’t Stress About Perfection
The best part of Friendsgiving is not feeling like you have to impress any picky relatives. Keep the décor as casual and laid-back as the company. Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere with natural seasonal decorations like mini pumpkins and fiery fall leaves; plenty of candles always make a gathering feel special. Go for bohemian chic with mix-and-match tableware, glasses, silverware and table linens. Perfection is boring! Focus on the food, fun and friends; no one cares if all your wine glasses don’t match.
Make the Most of Leftovers
Chances are you’ll have enough food left over to send your guests home with some goodies. To be sure leftovers stay fresh, wrap them in foil or place them in airtight containers within an hour of the meal ending. Ask guests to bring their own take-home containers, or use part of the communal budget to buy some fun take-out boxes.