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How To Create A Budget Thanksgiving Day Dinner

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Keto Thanksgiving Day Meal Plan


From Thanksgiving day dinner to home decor it all boils down to planning in order to reap the best budget savings.

October is around the corner which means we need to start preparing our Thanksgiving Day Shopping List.

I think one of the worst things you can do for any large holiday dinner is to wait until the last minute to meal plan and grocery shop.

Our First Canadian Thanksgiving Day Dinner Plan

Over the years that I’ve lived in Canada, we’ve always gone to our inlaws for massive holiday dinners including Canadian Thanksgiving.

This year however Mrs. CBB and I will be cooking a Thanksgiving feast at our house for the first time.

Our Thanksgiving Day budget for groceries and decor is $125 however we plan to crush that next year.

Find out how!

What is Thanksgiving?

Give thanks on Thanksgiving

We give thanks in Canada to celebrate the harvest and it all happens on the second Monday in October.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. – Wikipedia

Thanksgiving Day Is…

We all celebrate Thanksgiving differently based on tradition and personal preference but some things do stay the same.

When we think of Thanksgiving a few things come to mind:

  • Giving Thanks
  • Family and Friends
  • Leaves turning colour and the Harvest
  • Oranges, Cranberries, Grapes, Strawberries, Apples, Pears
  • Cinnamon, Star Anise, Nutmeg, Cloves, Vanilla, Ginger, Honey, All-Spice, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Bay Leaf
  • Orange, Yellow, Red, Brown
  • Gourds, Dried Corn, Mini Pumpkins, Pumpkins
  • Turkey, Roast Chicken, Gravy, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Salads, Brussel Sprouts, Casseroles, Stuffing, Sweet Corn with Butter, Chutney
  • Red Wine, Apple Juice, Coffee, Tea
  • Pecan Pie, Butter Tarts, Pumpkin Pie, Scones, Apple Pie and loads of baked bread and Rolls.

Thanksgiving Meaning

How To Prepare For A Budget Thanksgiving Day Dinner

pumpkin pie thanksgiving dinner

We were talking about how stressful it can be to prepare a large meal plan for anyone who hasn’t done it before.

Before you even plan your Thanksgiving Shopping List there are a few things you will want to consider. 

  1. What will be the date of the dinner party?
  2. How many people are you inviting?
  3. Where will everyone sit to eat? (not everyone has a dining room)
  4. Do I have enough cutlery for all of my guests? Where can I buy more?
  5. What Thanksgiving recipes will I plan to make?
  6. How to save money for your Thanksgiving Shopping List.
  7. When will you grocery shop for Thanksgiving dinner? 

These are the questions you should be asking yourself before committing to invite friends and family over for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Let’s have a look at each of the above questions and break them down so they are easy to understand.

Thanksgiving Dinner Date

Thanksgiving dinner table set up

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving the second week in October and you don’t have to.

If you have plans on Thanksgiving day and want to host another day that is perfectly fine however consider that some guests may have to work.

Sticking to Thanksgiving Day is optimal and whoever can come, comes and you prepare your feast accordingly.

Sending Thanksgiving Invitations

Unless you are inviting the Queen a simple phone call is all you need to do for a family Thanksgiving Dinner.

If you plan to invite friends to your gathering or want to send out Thanksgiving invitations you can do so as well.

If you want to keep it frugal opt for designing a Thanksgiving email invitation or find invites from the Dollar Store.

Hand-writing Thanksgiving Invitations on Fall themed paper is also another delightful option.

Give your guests 1 to 2 weeks’ notice so they have time to look at their calendar and respond back to you.

Always plan on some of your guests to bow out last-minute, not reply or reply that they can’t make it.

If you don’t hear back don’t assume they are ignoring you either as they may not have received your invite.

Take a moment to call them to see if they received your invite just to be on the safe side.

Preparing A Space For Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner table

One of the most exciting parts of preparing for Thanksgiving besides cooking dinner is the sharing space.

We plan to host our guests in our living room/dining room which isn’t big at all but will hold our 6 guests.

Two of our guests will be children and 4 adults so it works out perfect as our table seats 6.

Home Fall Decor for Thanksgiving Day Dinner

setting Thanksgiving dinner table

Now, the fun part- Decorating for Thanksgiving Day.

Our dining room table centerpiece will be created by Mrs. CBB with gourds in a Fall basket, dried corn stalks and 2 mini pumpkins on either side.

A pit-stop to either Value Village or the Goodwill to find a set of 6 Thanksgiving day dinner plates is on the agenda as well.

We are a mix and match family so we don’t really have a set of dishes for the company since we don’t really host.

While there she will look for fabric napkins that are colours of Autumn in red, orange, brown and yellow.

Another idea we had was to find a Thanksgiving candle decor piece to place on our side-table for ambiance.

If you don’t have a tablecloth the second-hand shop offers so many varieties you most likely find one.

We have a red round tablecloth that will be perfect for our Thanksgiving table decor.

Ideally, you can start shopping for Thanksgiving decor throughout the year if you have an idea of what you’re looking for.

The best savings will always be on 50% off days so consider what you will need in the future as well as today when shopping.

Grocery Shopping Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Roasted Chicken For Thanksgiving

There won’t be many if any grocery stores open Thanksgiving day so it’s important that you prepare everything in advance.

Even if you think you can run out to buy something don’t rely on finding what you need at the corner shop. They might not carry it.

Creating A Thanksgiving meal plan in advance will take a load of stress off your shoulders.

Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes- Meal Planning

This is another very personal part of Thanksgiving where you get to decide what recipes you want to prepare.

In our house, we will be serving a Keto Thanksgiving which isn’t much different than traditional.

The idea of planning your Thanksgiving dinner recipes in advance is so you can grocery shop smarter.

All of our Thankgiving Day side-dishes are keto made with full-fat creams, butter and cheese.

Butter for EVERYTHING!! Haha, so true.

Our Keto Thanksgiving Day Meal Plan

  1. Small Roasted Turkey and Chicken
  2. Homemade keto Gravy
  3. Roasted Radishes in butter
  4. Green Bean Casserole with crunchy onions on top.
  5. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Butter
  6. Brussel Sprouts with Butter and Bacon
  7. Keto Pumpkin Spice Loaf (recipe coming soon)
  8. Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
  9. Keto Bread Rolls
  10. Keto Bread for homemade stuffing with fresh Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Butter, and Cinnamon.
  11. Chocolate Keto Avocado Pudding
  12. Creamy Garlicky Mayo
  13. Keto Butter Roasted Spaghetti Squash with cinnamon sugar on top
  14. Drinks will be water, coffee, tea, red wine (guests), milk, cranberry juice, apple juice

Once you have your Thanksgiving meal plan sorted then you can start collecting the ingredients you will need.

This is where you write down every ingredient you’ll need to make your delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t forget to include the oils, butter, spices, and the small stuff because those are just as important.

Please, do not guess that you have something, check first.

Armed with a grocery list you are ready to find those budget-friendly deals.

Other great recipes on Canadian Budget Binder for Thanksgiving.

Stock Up For Thanksgiving Dinner In Advance

thanksgiving grocery shopping

I know some people who plan for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving dinner throughout the year.

An example would be buying a turkey after Christmas for Easter while they are on sale or reduced in price.

You can always freeze your whole chicken, turkey, and ham for months in the freezer.

That would be a huge grocery saving.

So, anything you can buy in advance to store in your pantry or freeze is optimal frugal shopping.

Grocery shopping last-minute for Thanksgiving food such as fresh vegetables, dairy, cheeses, etc can be done last-minute. 

Keep in mind that using coupons, flyer sales, cash back apps and using rewards points will always lower your grocery costs.

For example, the cheese will stay in the refrigerator for months without issue so buy it when it’s a hot price.

Another example would be boxed stuffing which you can find dirt cheap after any holiday.

I think we picked it up once for $0.20 a box after Christmas.

Stock up for the next one if you don’t fancy making homemade stuffing.

The same goes for canned gravy which grocery stores sell-off right after a major holiday.

Give Thanks To Yourself

Forest Fall Leaves

Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for planning such a busy dinner party for your family and guests.

It takes lots of work to;

  • Plan the date
  • Invite the guests
  • Meal Plan
  • Grocery Shop
  • Decor Shop
  • Cook and Bake
  • Clean-Up
  • Host

It may be a tiring day for everyone involved in the process of Thanksgiving dinner but it will be well worth the memories.

Next year our plan is to save even more money now that we have an idea of what we are looking for to plan a family Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

Discussion: How do you plan for your Thanksgiving Dinner party? What are some of your family tradition recipes?

Share your comments below as I’d love to hear your feedback on this topic.


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  1. As I age, my thoughts on Thanksgiving have changed. I like to enjoy fall fruits, vegetables, soups and stews starting in late September on thru American Thanksgiving.

    The days of cooking a feast for 2 people are way, way in the rear view mirror behind me! If we are in the mood for a roast turkey dinner, there’s a local restaurant that offers a 3-course Senior’s dinner for $12 per person every Monday and Wednesday. That’s my kind of Thanksgiving! I give thanks that there’s no big shop, days of food prep and definitely no massive clean-up after dinner! LOL ? I know, I’m a lazy bones but I wear it well! Ha ha ha!

    What I will do is buy a gluten free pumpkin pie for a treat sometime over the weekend. Enjoy your Thanksgiving preparation and meal CBB family!

    1. I think as we age we may do the same thing or hope our son will do the cooking for us. Typically we would go to the inlaws but if not we likely would do something small like roast chicken. Experiencing the full Thanksgiving dinner is a big part of who we are and want our son to enjoy it. We have few relatives in Canada now so it’s just the three of us.

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