Thanksgiving Dinner's Are Expensive (Long Vent)

Lounge By Echooo3 Updated 22 Nov 2010 , 6:51pm by cakeythings1961

Echooo3 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 2:32pm
post #1 of 31

Every year, without fail, the whole family "assumes" I am going to have the gathering at my house. The problem is nobody makes or brings anything. It's more dreadful every year, so much work -- AND THE EXPENSE!!

I have three grown daughters. My oldest daughter (her husband) and my two grandkids barely make ends meet each month so they are definately looking for a good meal. My middle daughter lives several hundred miles away and she and her husband come to my house to stay a few days. My youngest daughter brings her boyfriend. My dad and mom come from about an hour away come also (mom is in a nursing home).

I am behind in bills (bill collectors please stop calling me) but it seems I still have to find a way to buy the turkey and all the trimings for about 15 people and I can't seem to do it for under $150+.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my family and I love to be with them, it's the money thing that's really hard. Expecially when I know that no other family member could possibly do it financialy. Money isn't everything but it does put food on the table.

30 replies
Shelle_75 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 3:08pm
post #2 of 31

We are right there with you in the finances department. I am sure, however, if you asked everyone to bring just ONE of something, they would be understanding and able to find a way to do it. It might help a little bit.

Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving!

LindaF144a Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 3:20pm
post #3 of 31

Be honest and tell them. I am sure they don't realize the burden. One year for my inlaw side of the family we skipped the traditional and did subs, pizza and wings instead. Not because of expense, but ease. It was more important to be together then have the large meal.

Texas_Rose Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 3:28pm
post #4 of 31

I can help with the bill collectors...as long as they are collection agencies and not the original place you owe the bill to, send them a letter saying that from this point on, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they may only communicate with you in writing.

About the expense of Thanksgiving, why don't you ask everyone to bring $15 per family to contribute to the meal, and also bring whatever beverages they want to drink during the meal? $15 is less than they would spend in a restaurant and it's a small enough amount that everyone should be able to manage it, but all together it should be a big help to your budget.

I used to have trouble asking my relatives to contribute to the holiday meal...but one year I saw my dad give my sister a check for $50 toward the food. She and her husband make more than twice what we make and have no kids, and my dad had never offered me money toward the dinner on the years when it was my turn. So after that, whenever I do Thanksgiving, I ask my parents and my sister to each contribute $20. And when we have it at my sister's house, I give her $20.

peg818 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 3:50pm
post #5 of 31

Why is it so expensive for your dinner?? Maybe you need to rethink what you are serving. I spend about $50 to feed that many here.

Also, there is no shame in having family pitch in to help pay for the dinner.

pajnpis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 4:53pm
post #6 of 31

Either ask your family to help pitch in about $15-$20 or have them bring in something. For my family, we cook at my in laws but everyone has to bring in something. My 2 sister in law usually buy the turkey (2 of em since we're a big family), while my husband and I buy the potatoes and gravy along with stuffing, others will have to buy drinks, etc. Just talk to them and see if they will agree to help you out.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 4:55pm
post #7 of 31

Interesting--I though $150 was kinda low balling it. We're all different and it's ok.

Anyhow--I'm making payments on a new laptop for my latest business venture 'for Christmas'. My kids are grown, degreed, married. There are no grandbabies at this point. I'm not sweating a real low key Christmas.

I know you're talking Thanksgiving but I mean we're doing a everybody bring something Thanksgiving dinner. I love those. They are my favorite.

For Christmas--I'm gonna make some pinwheel refrigerator cookie dough for each of them to put in their freezer and slice off pretty cookies whenever they want. I'll make some vanilla sugar for each of them. Ooh, maybe I should start some vanilla for them! Ooh great idea! Because I have all these leftover vanilla beans and I will die & go to the hot place if they go moldy.

But it is extremely difficult for some peopole to change--I get it--but suck it up and move forward. Ain't no shame in being poor. Do the best you can. Call & ask everyone to help you make a list of their favorite things to make--you will be getting back to them with what to ultimately bring.

Don't dive off this cliff. Take care of yourself.

Elcee Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 5:57pm
post #8 of 31

It is expensive. I'm actually impressed that you can feed 15 people on $150. I ususally spend around $100 for 1/2 that number. Actually, now that I think about it I could probably feed close to that many without adding anything icon_rolleyes.gif.

Talk to your family. I'm sure they don't realize how expensive it is or how tight things are for you financially. When you break it down that's just $10 a person so maybe they can pitch in like others have said.

Can you cut back on the meal? We always have (in addition to the poor turkey) 2 kinds of stuffing, 2 gravies (I'm a vegetarian), 2 sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, at at least 3 vegetables, relishes, etc. Plus 4 pies. I think I'd cut back by taking a survey...if you had to take 3 things off the menu which would they be? Then focus your resources on those things that are the most liked.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 6:16pm
post #9 of 31

Sometimes we have dishes "just because". I used to buy a pumpkin pie 'coz you were "posta" have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. no one at our house likes pumpkin pie and I always ended up throwing it away (hubby might have eaten one piece of it). The 1st year i didn't have it, everyone asked where it was? I said, "I got tired of throwing it away and I'm not spending money on an edible centerpiece anymore."

Growing up we always had green beans AND corn AND baked beans AND peas. Well, we just don't need FOUR veggies. Also growing up, my mom was big on lots of desserts. (I think it was the kid in her ... she, herself, didn't want dinner .... she wanted to skip right to the ice cream and cookies!) We ate pie for DAYS after thanksgiving! She's make like 20 or 25 pies!!! Holy crap! We dont' need to make food that will last us the whole week.

It was a liberating feeling when I, as an adult, figured out that thanskgiving is not about having so much food that it goes to waste and sits around your house all week. It's about being with family (ok, that CAN be a "not so good thing" sometimes! icon_lol.gif ) plaing games with the grandkids, and just being together.

As I learned personally .... it IS easy to cut back when we just got honest with ourselves.

Oh .... and tell them the free ride is over. YOU have bills to pay, too.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 6:27pm
post #10 of 31

Oh, and cranberry sauce. We do NOT have cranberry ANYTHING at our house because no one ... not even hubby, who eats all the weird stuff! .... will eat it.

peg818 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 7:37pm
post #11 of 31

here i have cut back to a very basic meal for thanksgiving.

We have:

Turkey/gravy
dressing
mashed potatoes
broccoli casserole
either green beans or corn
cranberry sauce
and for dessert its usually apple pie and cheese cake.
wine/beer and soda to drink

Over the years i have done away with the stuff that just gets thrown away.

And yes i pull this off for about $50. I do start buying things a few weeks before, to take off some of the strain on the grocery bill.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 7:38pm
post #12 of 31

dang, Peg! I spent twenty five bucks just on the turkey! (But we DID always buy the biggest one in the store! We LUV turkey!!)

CWR41 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:11pm
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh, and cranberry sauce. We do NOT have cranberry ANYTHING at our house because no one ... not even hubby, who eats all the weird stuff! .... will eat it.




My family didn't care for cranberry ANYTHING as well, until I started making cranberry casserole. Maybe your family will love it too. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry Casserole
3 cups chopped apples, peeled (3 or 4 medium)
2 cups whole cranberries (fresh)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix apples, cranberries, sugar, and water. Put in a 2 quart casserole. Blend in melted butter with oats, brown sugar, and pecans. Spread on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. DELICIOUS!

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:31pm
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by peg818

here i have cut back to a very basic meal for thanksgiving.

We have:

Turkey/gravy
dressing
mashed potatoes
broccoli casserole
either green beans or corn
cranberry sauce
and for dessert its usually apple pie and cheese cake.
wine/beer and soda to drink

Over the years i have done away with the stuff that just gets thrown away.

And yes i pull this off for about $50. I do start buying things a few weeks before, to take off some of the strain on the grocery bill.




I don't know Peg--wine/beer soda & a turkey is gonna set you back half your budget right there. Methinks you're cooking from a well stocked pantry?

And I am one of those people that is paranoid about not 'having enough' so I err on the side of more. Like I use the whole three pound bag of apples for my pie and half a shaker of cinnamon too--but I only make one or two a year. icon_biggrin.gif

peg818 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:38pm
post #15 of 31

grocery store runs a special here I just paid $4 for a butterball retail $19 and change.

But every year at least one store runs a special on the turkey this year was you spend $300 in the month before thanksgiving and you get a free bird. You can apply the discount to a more expensive bird if you wish, which is how i got the turkey for so cheap.

As far as the beer/wine and soda. A couple of two liter bottles of soda can be had for $1 or so and the beer and wine, i buy one bottle of wine and one 12 pk beer if more is wanted they can and do bring their own.

Wish i had known this year my son started a new job and the day i came home with a turkey from the grocery store, his job handed them out too. So i already have a bird for Christmas too.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:42pm
post #16 of 31

O, Peg, you are good you are very very good!

Happy Thanksgiving, Clever Shopper Supreme!!!

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:45pm
post #17 of 31

No no wait--I Got It!!!

Scheff (op)--eat at Peg's this year!!!!!


icon_lol.gif

7yyrt Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:49pm
post #18 of 31

Look for turkey deals -- I found 27 cent a pound turkey, when you buy $50 in food.

peg818 Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 8:51pm
post #19 of 31

K8, I have been known to feed a family of four for $5. When we were younger things were much tighter then they are right now for us, but i have never really lost that frugality.

For the holidays i start early in the month and buy the things that don't spoil as they come up on sale. For things like stuffing, you just cube the bread ends and pop them in the freezer when you want to make stuffing just pull out some. If i don't have enough to make stuffing with i will buy a loaf or two of the store white bread (usually not more then a $1 a loaf) and cut that up.

Oh and last night on the news they went shopping at 3 different stores for a thanksgiving fest, very basic meal like i put out and compared how much the food cost and with out drinks the highest was $37 and change the lowest was $31 and change. So i guess i'm not the only one that can do it.

indydebi Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 9:04pm
post #20 of 31

peg, I save all of the "last of the loaf" slices of bread that no one wants. I just throw the bag in the freezer. come thanksgiving, I have a bunch of slices of bread that is MORE than enough to make my stuffing. I dont' pre-cut it into cubes .... I just cube the frozen bread. Really easy to cut!

I also throw end cuts of celery (the leaves and stem parts that we cut off) and carrot & onion peelings into ziplok bags and throw them in the freezer. When I'm ready to make any kind of stock .... I've got this stuff to throw in for flavor.

Some of my kids' favorite dishes came from my "I'm a broke single mom" days! thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 20 Nov 2010 , 9:08pm
post #21 of 31

Oh yeah for sure--I used to do all that--watch the sale flyers like a broker watching the stock market tickers--but I'm entirely out of the mood now--kids are grown--and I grew out of it.

My husband does 95% of the shopping and cooking.
Suits me fine.

It's very good though and I applaud your great example.

leily Posted 21 Nov 2010 , 1:56pm
post #22 of 31

I agree with only making what will get eaten. There are always TONS of left overs b/c someone makes to much. I personally find it odd that one person cooks the whole meal, i have grown up (and it's very common around here) that everyone brings a dish. One person does the turkey, someone else does the potatoes, there's usually a couple of vegetables, Lots of desserts, breads, appetizers (usually the good old cheese and cracker tray - which i found a decent size one at wal-mart for $5) etc...

Around here the grocery stores usually start putting "holiday" ingredients on sale starting november 1st. Throughout the year i usually only go grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks but during november/december i go every week to get the best deals on the holiday ingredients (and other stuff that i stock up on for the year if i can)

ONe local store has buy a Ham and get a turkey for free. The hams are about 5lbs and about $16, but them you also get a 10-12# turkey for free. I did this last year and we used the Ham at christmas and the turkey for thanksgiving.

This year one family gathering is going to a restaurant, this way everyone is reponsible for their own meal and we don't have cleanup. I imagine this will probably start being tradition just because it's easier and we can all enjoy getting together.

-K8memphis Posted 21 Nov 2010 , 2:06pm
post #23 of 31

We went to a big spread at Holiday Inn here for Thanksgiving one year--they had ice sculptures and every kind of protein and tons of different sides & desserts--it was buffet but then there was wait staff to serve your drinks. Nicey nice room & linens.

If we did that again I would miss the leftovers but honestly with the hypothyroidism it would be better to just get back to the right diet and I should skip the leftovers.

But no clean up is my all time favorite. Since we're going to the red headed girl's house this year I can avoid doing clean up--or at least chip in and have help so that's way cool too.

It's all good.

I like to send leftover platses full home with guests too.

cakeythings1961 Posted 21 Nov 2010 , 3:15pm
post #24 of 31

Blessings to you. Your dinner really does not need to be expensive. I just bought my turkey for .39 per lb. That's less than 6.50 for a good sized bird! Everything is on sale at the grocery store this time of year--these prices are straight from my store's ads this week:

16 lb. turkey 6.24
5 lb. bag of potatoes 1.99
2 cans green beans @ .88= 1.76
bag of croutons for stuffing .99
brown & serve rolls 1.49
can of cranberries .99 (only if people will eat it--we like it in my family )
2 frozen pumpkin pies @ 2.99= 5.98
store brand margarine 1.89
bunch celery .99 (use some in your stuffing & serve the rest fresh)

Total: 22.32!!

Your daughters can each bring a beverage--if they can afford to eat at home, then they can afford to make this small contribution, and if they expect to have beer or wine, they can bring it. Ask your mother to bring something, as well--a salad, or maybe a side dish from your family's traditions, or perhaps a lb. of special coffee. If the grandchildren are old enough, ask them to make colorful decorations for the table.

Best wishes for a peaceful holiday.



icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 2:36am
post #25 of 31

I highly, highly recommend this program for everyone - regardless of income:
www.angelfoodministries.com

TexasSugar Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 3:51pm
post #26 of 31

Up until last year my 83 year old grandma made everything for Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the exception of letting me bring desserts. Last year she was in a halo and wasn't up to it and if she was we still wouldn't have let her. I've gone over there on Wednesday to help her for many years, just because I do understand how much work it truely is.

This year she is back on her feet, and thankfully agreed that she doesn't need to do it it. Minus the great-grand kids, we are all adults and fully capable of bring something to the table. So the dishes have been split between us and everyone will bring something.

Alot of people have tight budgets. I don't think it should fall to just one person to foot the bill for a 'big' meal. If everyone wasn't eating at your house, they would still have to eat somewhere. I'd ask everyone bring something, and as a bonus, you will get to spend less time in the kitchen, and won't be overly tired when it comes to enjoying family time.

-K8memphis Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 3:56pm
post #27 of 31

And for me, I like if possible and I know it's not possible for everyone--sometimes it's not possible for me either--but I like to get some really really cool things to eat. Can you do the meal on a budget? Sure. But it's ok to splurge some if you can--not blow the baby's milk money but have fun with some good and rare food too. Just saying.

7yyrt Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 4:11pm
post #28 of 31

I agree, have everyone contribute at least one dish.

Something I do all year long is buy a can (or frozen item, etc) here and there, and set it aside.
Thinking... I have stashed in freezer and fridge - smoked salmon ($1 on closeout), small jar of caviar ($2), beef log, bag of cranberries from last year's after-Christmas sale, mashed pumpkin, stock from the last turkey, innards from the same turkey, green beans from the $0.50 sale, canned salmon... etc.
You can take all sorts of little things, put them on a cracker or bread slice,(use some of that frozen leftover bread) toast them if you want to and people think they're wonderful. (And it makes the meal seem more festive and go farther.) further?

Kiddiekakes Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 4:37pm
post #29 of 31

Start asking your family to bring potluck thumbs_up.gif .Everyone decide beforehand what they can make and bring like a green bean cassarole,mashed potatoes from another etc..You should not have to carry the whole burden of the cost of the whole meal.One supply the turkey,desserts.If they can't at least do that then ask for money...It is a tight economy everywhere and Canada is not exception..A 20 lb turkey would be $50.00 here...Uggghhh...and we for go the pumpkin pie to as no one eats it... thumbsdown.gif

Minstrelmiss Posted 22 Nov 2010 , 6:18pm
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeythings1961

Blessings to you. Your dinner really does not need to be expensive. I just bought my turkey for .39 per lb. That's less than 6.50 for a good sized bird! Everything is on sale at the grocery store this time of year--these prices are straight from my store's ads this week:

16 lb. turkey 6.24
5 lb. bag of potatoes 1.99
2 cans green beans @ .88= 1.76
bag of croutons for stuffing .99
brown & serve rolls 1.49
can of cranberries .99 (only if people will eat it--we like it in my family )
2 frozen pumpkin pies @ 2.99= 5.98
store brand margarine 1.89
bunch celery .99 (use some in your stuffing & serve the rest fresh)

Total: 22.32!!

Your daughters can each bring a beverage--if they can afford to eat at home, then they can afford to make this small contribution, and if they expect to have beer or wine, they can bring it. Ask your mother to bring something, as well--a salad, or maybe a side dish from your family's traditions, or perhaps a lb. of special coffee. If the grandchildren are old enough, ask them to make colorful decorations for the table.

Best wishes for a peaceful holiday.



icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif




I'm with you on this one, cakey.

We are working with a crazy small budget this year but have still been able to make our regular food pantry donations because of great sales. While we love our real "tadders," with coupons and sales, the Betty Crocker potatoes have been free for weeks! I bought 12 boxes to donate.

Let your family help...make them a participate in your family get-together rather than a dinner guest. Don't make it a poor thing, make it a family thing. And i agree with many others that only make what people love. No need to waste money. Best wishes for a blessed season.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%