The much anticipated Thanksgiving holiday is nearing. Many of you will go home and gather around the dinner table with family and friends. On the other hand, many of you probably chose to stay at school for the holiday. Even if you’re not going home, you don’t need to skip out on this holiday. Student loans, college expenses, and room and board add up quickly and may even leave you strapped for cash. Don’t sweat it. Here’s how you can celebrate Thanksgiving on a college student budget:

1. Have a potluck supper

Gather your friends who aren’t going home and allocate different parts of the Thanksgiving feast. Each person only has to focus on one dish, which is drastically cheaper than relying on one person cook the whole meal. Personally, I love pot lock dinners. Not only do I have the opportunity to try new foods, but I also get to learn about my friends through their cooking methodologies. Aside from that one friend who doesn’t know how to cook, a pot luck supper is an effective and fun way to cut back on costs.

2. Opt for traditional boxed food

Traditional boxed food doesn’t sound too appetizing, but before you cross it off your list — hear me out. Boxed food has come a long way. Believe me, I would know. I am all about buying food in a box because it is quick and fits into my budget.

Here’s an example: The recipe my family uses for stuffing consists of: butter, onion, celery, bread, egg, chicken broth, thyme, salt, pepper, sage, and milk. Depending on the portion size, this stuffing can cost upwards of $30. That may not seem like a lot of money in the moment, but once you add in the cost of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, you may wish you had opted for the boxed option. You can buy turkey Stove top stuffing mix for $1.25. If you want to get fancy, you can add a few additional ingredients! The point is that it still tastes good and is a more reasonable option.

3. Get crafty with it

Decorating for the holidays can be a great way to get people together and boost your holiday spirit. As I walked through the mall last week, I couldn’t help but notice how expensive decorations really are. College students on a budget shouldn’t have to neglect the holiday spirit because of overly expensive décor. That is why I created a Pinterest board with tons of DIY Thanksgiving decorations. This way you can decorate and celebrate the holiday while still honoring your budget.

Follow iontuition’s board Tips for Frugal Holiday Fun on Pinterest.

Those of you who are strapped for cash and want to celebrate this holiday can make it possible — even on a college student budget!

Blogger Tara K.

As Blogger and budget aficionado, Tara K. helps students across the country enhance their knowledge about money management and everyday life. She is constantly looking for new ideas to transform into great advice for you. Pursuing a journalism major, Tara K. has a passion for the art of inquiry, which is conveyed through her writing.