The holiday season is upon us. Although the holidays may look a bit different this year you may still be hosting a small gathering. Regardless of how big or small that gathering is, the costs can add up quick. How can you host a Thanksgiving gathering without breaking the bank?

Preparation is key! Before buying anything for Thanksgiving write down your plan. Who will you invite? What food will you serve? Write out a menu and list out the ingredients for each dish. It’s important to think about how much food you need in order to serve the number of guests you plan to invite.

Before you start shopping think about what other people may bring. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Most people do not want to come empty handed and they appreciate being assigned an item. If you enjoy cooking the meal yourself, consider asking your guests to bring a dessert or drinks.

The biggest expenditure for this holiday is the food. Since you have about one month to prepare, start stocking up now. If you buy a little each week it helps. As you purchase items cross them off your list so you don’t end up buying more than you need. Start with your nonperishable items. What is on sale? Can you find coupons and what can you buy in bulk? As the holiday gets closer the only thing you should have left is your perishable items.

When preparing your meal, make what you can instead of buying premade items. This can be a heavy lift but give yourself time and make what you can in advance. Consider chopping and prepping a few days prior to ease the burden. In the long run, making items from scratch is always more cost effective.

Let’s talk turkey… since you are ahead of the game, start looking into local deals now. Many grocery stores offer a free turkey or discount if you spend a specific amount in store leading up to Thanksgiving. Not sure how big of a turkey you need? Plan for 1.5 pounds per person. Do your research and you are sure to save.

Skip the décor or keep it minimal. Check your attic or basement and see what you have lying around from years past. You could also make your own with what you have. For example – do you have some empty vases laying around? Fill them with pinecones.

Finally, use your rewards to pay. Check your grocery store rewards or cash rewards from credit cards. Are you a KASASA Checking Cash Back account holder? Put those rewards to use. If you are not, check out all this account has to offer here.