You may only have one or two roommates with you for Friendsgiving this year with the new Vermont COVID-19 policies to prevent social gatherings, but even then, you can make the meal affordable.
In preparation of Friendsgiving I recently headed out for ingredients and found myself scouring through seemingly endless aisles of one grocery store after the next. Just yesterday, feeling defeated by the limitless options of stuffing brands just one store offers, I checked my bank account. That prompted me to go with the cheaper, off-brand stuffing.
A friendsgiving is an honorary holiday that consists of all the delights a traditional Thanksgiving offers but is celebrated with friends rather than family. Like many college students, I have reached a point in the semester where funds are starting to run low. Don’t let this deter you from having a friendsgiving when you have affordable options that will allow you to have a Thanksgiving dinner feast all within a college student’s budget.
Make Friendsgiving potluck-style. That way everyone saves some money and everyone can contribute to the dinner. “Our Friendsgiving is going to be a potluck. We’ll focus on the main dishes but everyone that’s coming is bringing either a side dish or dessert.” said Colby Nadeau, a young Burlington resident. “This is definitely going to save us all some money, they’re also not the best cooks so I’m excited to see what they’ll end up bringing to the table.”
A potluck is a fun and easy way for everyone to get involved in the holiday. It’s also a fun way to share different takes on traditional Thanksgiving dishes. “[At Trader Joe’s] There’s lots of different options for any dietary needs and they’re all very affordable.” said Astrid, a Trader Joe’s employee. “There’s anything from vegan options to gluten-free options and turkeys of every size.”
Grocery stores like Price Chopper and Costco also offer affordable deals when you buy in bigger quantities. Try grocery shopping at these places with friends, this way, you and your friends can share the cost and split the bulk of food amongst yourselves.
There are many grocery stores in the area that have good food at an affordable price. Trader Joe’s, Price Chopper, Hannaford’s, and City Market are just to name a few. “Our bulk program here at City Market is a great way to save money, especially when it comes to herbs and spices. Instead of buying a lot of one product that you’ll only use only once or twice, our bulk program allows you to scoop out and only pay for what you need.” said Carrie Putscher, Assistant Outreach and Education Manager at City Market. “Our Co-op Basics Program is essentially designed to lower the price on hundreds of items throughout the store, including our local and organic foods. We want to have high quality staples be accessible to every shopper.”
All college students understand the financial struggle, but there are plenty of ways to shop that will allow you to not have to miss out on fun activities, like having a Friendsgiving. “I try to limit my spending to only things I need, like, food, gas and hygiene products. As a student, it’s hard to make it through a year off a summer job’s earnings. One way I am able to do this is by transferring money each month from my savings to checking and only spending what I transfer.” said Andrew Wood ‘21. “For me, it’s good to keep track of my spending so that I can be in the position to afford special occasions like a Friendsgiving or night out at dinner.”