How to Have a Thanksgiving Meal on a Student's Budget

Just because you can't travel home for the four-day weekend doesn't mean you can't celebrate Thanksgiving. In this article, read about cheap, tasty ways that students can celebrate and feel thankful. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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How To Be A Thankful Student

Staying near to school this Thanksgiving? You're probably not the only one who's decided against going home for the holidays. Get together with friends, classmates, roommates or neighbors who may also be staying on campus and plan to celebrate the day together.

Having a nice Thanksgiving meal on a budget isn't a difficult task to accomplish. Having one with minimal kitchen access, though, might be a bit trickier. Read on for tips that can help you create a cheap yet tasty holiday spread.

Tips for College Students Who Have a Kitchen

Potluck Party

If you want to make the process fun, have a party to plan your inexpensive potluck dinner. Use paper to write out traditional Thanksgiving foods or course options, such as appetizers, side dishes or desserts, and throw the snippets in a bowl. Have each guest pick a paper to see what part of the meal they'll be responsible for. Also, everyone attending the dinner could contribute a few dollars to the purchase of the main course. If your friends come from different cultural backgrounds, consider asking them to bring foods that are traditional to their usual Thanksgiving meals. As a host, save even more money by making sure everyone knows it's a BYOB bash.

Inexpensive Eats

Once you've decided how you're going to celebrate Thanksgiving, save money by minimizing ingredients. Scour the Web for 5-ingredient recipes. You can also enhance the flavor of many a meal with inexpensive spices like salt, pepper, garlic (powder) and onion (powder). If you're going to cook a turkey, consider buying a frozen one, which typically costs less than the fresh variety. Casseroles, soups and salads also provide an easy and cheap option for feeding a group.

If you're making side dishes, frozen or canned vegetables may be less costly than fresh. However, if you have local farmers' markets, you may be able to buy fresh, in-season produce at reasonable prices. Also, with all of the components required to make pies, these are often cheaper to buy than make, and frozen may cost less than fresh. The best way to get an idea on prices is to check your grocer's flyers or shop around to find out about holiday pricing, and don't forget to visit online coupon sites for extra deals.

Tips for Those Who Don't Have a Kitchen

Cook Simply and Save

If you're having a smaller get-together or eating alone, consider buying a small boneless turkey breast or ordering thick-sliced turkey meat from your deli counter. You can then season, heat up and dress the turkey. It will probably save you money, conserve your fridge space and make cooking easier on Thanksgiving. Crockpot cooking is a great way to heat food, and because of the slow-cooking method, crockpots easily tenderize tougher cuts of meat, which are typically less expensive. Don't underestimate microwaves and toaster ovens, which are other excellent options for cooking budget-friendly meals in your college dorm room.

Made to Order Dinner

If you don't want the hassle of cooking a Thanksgiving meal, consider ordering in. Inexpensive holiday meals may be available from local eateries or fast-casual restaurants, such as Boston Market. Your local grocery store may also offer holiday catering options. Save even more money by searching the Web, the newspaper or a local circular for money-saving specials or coupons.

Interested in learning how to make everyday, budget-friendly meals? Continue reading to find out more.

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