Budgeting to Feed a Crowd

A friend of mine had heard we are having our family dinner for Thanksgiving at my house. She made the comment that she could never afford to feed so many people, although she has the space. I told her it was easy on the budget, if you plan ahead.


As soon as you decide to host an event, start putting your plan into action. If money is a real big issue, then instead of volunteering for a holiday where you are to provide a turkey or ham, (such as Thanksgiving or Christmas), pick something else, such as July 4 (hotdogs).

Buy a little each week. Pay attention to your store sales and coupons and work it to your advantage. For example, a month ago, our local grocery store had green beans on sale for 19 cents a can. I had some coupons and got a few for free. The limit was 6 cans per purchase. I usually make a green bean casserole, so I bought 6 cans, husband got 6, and each of the kids got 6. Total, 36 cans; more than enough for green bean casserole. I did the same thing a week later when they had frozen rolls on sale. I got 6 packages for the freezer. I bake our bread from scratch each week, so the week of the dinner, I will also make a few extra loaves.

My husband gets a free ham each year from work, and I have been saving up my reward points from the grocery store to purchase a turkey. Tea is inexpensive, so I also got a new box of tea, knowing I would probably be out by Thanksgiving. So, I already have the meat, drink, bread and two side dishes covered.

I am also providing the potatoes, so this week I picked up 2 large cans of yams (the huge gallon cans) that were on sale for $3.99 a can and a bag of marshmallows for the candied topping. The week of Thanksgiving I will pick up a bag of potatoes for mashed potatoes. I still had pie filling on hand in the pantry, so my pies are already made and in the freezer.

I asked each family attending to bring a covered side dish or a desert. Most of the women in our family have one dish they are "famous" for making, and they love to share. The day before, I will make up some tea and freeze it. That will be used in my drink cooler instead of ice cubes, so as it melts it won't water down everyones drink. I only offer tea and water, so that will cut down on expense.

I also stocked up, with coupons and sales, on TP and Kleenex. Always want to have plenty on hand when you have a crowd. After adding it up, my total will come out to under $75, to feed around 60 people. Not bad at all.

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November 11, 20141 found this helpful

I loved your good ideas and I have one for you. If you have some room in your yard start some sweet potatoes next summer and have plenty for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. They will grow in just about anything. Their vines are beautiful and the leaves are also edible. Save some of the smaller ones to start next year and the cost will be next to nothing. You can't beat the taste of a sweet potato grown in your own backyard.

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November 5, 20180 found this helpful

I suspect your extended family senses the love you have for them when you have them over for dinner. They no doubt k ow that your finances are tight, yet you serve them dinner made on a budget, but more importantly, with love. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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November 5, 20180 found this helpful

A good thing is corn casserole.
2 cream style corn
1 reg corn
1 stick butter
6 oz sour cream
2 eggs
1 jiffy mix.
Bake at 350 for 45 - 50 min makes alot
All can be bought at Aldis. You might need to make it x 4

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November 5, 20180 found this helpful

For the corn casserole I left out out to melt the butter

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November 8, 20181 found this helpful

Such great ideas! I feed a much smaller crowd at Thanksgiving, but I do buy all my nonperishables in the weeks leading up to the big day. That spreads out the cost and it also is easier to bring home a little at a time rather than in one huge shopping trip. Next week is the week before turkey day, so I will get my bird for .37 a pound on special if I spend 30.00 on other things. That will be all the perishables, and anything else I know I will need in the near future, to.make up the 30.00.

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