facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog external search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
Thanksgiving Ideas Thumbnail

Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day for family gatherings but can also be an opportunity for accidental overspending, throwing your monthly budget into chaos. Here are a few tips on how to steer clear of those people.

Subscribe to our Podcast!

Contact Steve here: 


Full Transcript below:

Speaker 1 (00:07):

Welcome back. It's 30 Minute Money. I'm Scott Fitzgerald, along with Steve Wershing of Focused Wealth Advisors here to do little bite-size pieces of information, and I'm getting kind of hungry. You're talking about Thanksgiving tips?

Speaker 2 (00:20):

Speaking of,

Speaker 1 (00:21):

Yes. Speaking of bite-sized.

Speaker 2 (00:23):

We're going to talk Turkey today, Scott.

Speaker 1 (00:24):

Now let me ask you a question. It's probably unrelated to anything we're going to talk about. What's your favorite side when you're doing Thanksgiving?

Speaker 2 (00:34):

Oh, side dish.

Speaker 1 (00:34):

Side dish.

Speaker 2 (00:35):

Oh boy. Well, I'm a child of the sixties and seventies, and so back in those days, casserole were a big thing.

Speaker 1 (00:49):

Like the green bean casserole,

Speaker 2 (00:50):

There's a green bean casserole. It just makes me feel like I'm back at home

Speaker 1 (00:55):

Again. Yeah, it's comfort food.

Speaker 2 (00:57):

And speaking of that, there was a turnip thing that my grandmother did. She did mash turnips, and then she would spread those little marshmallows all over the top and put it under the broiler and brown.

Speaker 1 (01:07):

Oh, wow. On turnips.

Speaker 2 (01:08):


Speaker 1 (01:09):


Speaker 2 (01:10):

So I remember that fondly from my youth.

Speaker 1 (01:12):

Yeah, my grandmother did the same thing on sweet potatoes.

Speaker 2 (01:15):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think sweet potatoes is more common.

Speaker 1 (01:18):

Yeah, turnips interesting.

Speaker 2 (01:20):


Speaker 1 (01:20):

Now I'm

Speaker 2 (01:20):


Speaker 1 (01:22):

All right. So what do you got for us today?

Speaker 2 (01:23):

Well, so a lot of times we talk about fancy financial planning strategies and tax strategies, and we're not going to do that today. We're just going to talk about sort of how to regulate your cashflow, how to not overspend during the holidays, because it's an easy time. We all get caught up in the excitement of the holidays and we want to do lots of things, and it's also a time when we can inadvertently spend a lot more than we mean to. So I just wanted to talk about a few tips on how to not overspend when we're going into the holidays.

Speaker 1 (01:53):

I'll kick us off

Speaker 2 (01:54):


Speaker 1 (01:54):

You don't mind. Don't shop when you're hungry. That's my first tip. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:58):

Don't food shop anyway

Speaker 1 (01:59):

When you're hungry.

Speaker 2 (01:59):

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1 (02:00):

Well, I mean, you can shop if you're hungry and go get a new pair of shoes, I

Speaker 2 (02:03):

Guess. But yes, don't shop when you're, I've made that mistake lots of times. It's a great way to spend way too much on

Speaker 1 (02:11):

Why did I spend $30 on all these Chinese noodles? Never.

Speaker 2 (02:16):

Exactly. But yeah. Well, but it gets at one of the tips, and we'll talk about that in a little bit. Before we get to the food, let's talk about where you want to go for the holidays. And one thing I would suggest is be thoughtful about holiday travel. If you want to go see people. Holidays can be very expensive to travel on. Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel season of the year, and airlines know that, so they're going to jack up prices. So be thoughtful about who you want to see and how much you want to bounce around and where you want to go. And one of the things that you can do is either go early or you can stay late. So I'm going to go to my daughter's for Thanksgiving and I'm going to see my first little grandson. Oh, congratulations. Thank you. I took a look at the different rates, and I'm going to end up going down the Sunday before because it saves me hundreds of dollars in airfare. So I'll just spend a little more time. I'll do a little more office work while I'm there and have a little more family time. So be thoughtful about that. Either go early or stay later. As long as you're not traveling, leaving on Wednesday and coming back Sunday, that's a recipe for paying as much as physically possible. Be flexible at that, and you can save a whole lot of money.

Speaker 1 (03:41):

I always think of the movie Home Alone and Home Alone. Two, when I was thinking about what did Peter McAllister do because he flew 18 people to Paris or something like that. That's

Speaker 2 (03:54):


Speaker 1 (03:55):

He had like nine kids plus his in-laws. I know. Just a little aside.

Speaker 2 (04:00):

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he had given a lot of thought to his tax free bucket and he was living on his Roth ira.

Speaker 1 (04:06):

I was going to say,

Speaker 2 (04:06):

I'm pretty sure that's how he did it. That was an underappreciated part of that movie was the role of the Roth IRA

Speaker 1 (04:13):

And all that. That's the backstory.

Speaker 2 (04:14):

Exactly. That's right. That's right. Speaking of travel, and it's funny because my kids are way better at this than I am, is when you're traveling and you need to stay someplace, think about Airbnbs instead of hotels, right? I mean, I just default to going to a hotel. It doesn't even strike me to think, and I'll get there, but it just takes a while to sink in.

Speaker 1 (04:36):

We did our first Airbnb a few months ago when we went down to Gettysburg. It was a really cool experience. It was definitely unique, and we definitely saved a lot of money. It was me and my three kids. And I mean, you can't beat it

Speaker 2 (04:51):


Speaker 1 (04:51):

Like staying in a place and it's early furnished, and you can go out and get your own food and cook your own food rather than going to restaurants. A lot

Speaker 2 (04:58):

Of great, yeah, there's a lot of savings. And so when I went down south from my daughter's baby shower, we actually, we got a three or four bedroom house and three groups of us stayed there. So I stayed there. Her mom and her husband stayed there, and then I think another couple stayed with us. So not only was it less expensive and you saved the money on all the food, but we had a place to hang out and we get split the bill three ways. Was

Speaker 1 (05:26):

It one of those that has the two master bedrooms?

Speaker 2 (05:31):

I don't think so.

Speaker 1 (05:32):

If you've ever gone down to Orlando in the parks area, they have a lot of those houses that were built specifically for that where

Speaker 2 (05:40):

People come

Speaker 1 (05:40):

Down and rent a house.

Speaker 2 (05:41):

Oh, there you go.

Speaker 1 (05:42):

It's got two master bedrooms, two master baths, and a pool and a hot tub. It's made for that.

Speaker 2 (05:48):

Yep, exactly. So keep that in mind when you're doing that. The next thing that I wanted to mention was whatever you're doing, if it's traveling, or whether it's cooking or whether it's buying gifts or whatever it is, make a budget ahead of time. If you just get caught up in the moment and say, oh, let's have all these foods and let's put up all these decorations and those kinds of things, and you don't put it on paper and map out what you're going to do, it's very easy to overspend. So think about how much you want to spend ahead of time.

Speaker 1 (06:16):

I always have, honestly, I have trouble with that.

Speaker 2 (06:20):


Speaker 1 (06:20):

I think a lot of people do. A lot

Speaker 2 (06:21):

Of people do,

Speaker 1 (06:22):

Especially in today's world where you're just so busy and next thing you know next week is Thanksgiving. I mean, that's how it sneaks up on you. So to sit down and make a budget, it seems like a real trial, but I've done it. I've forced, especially after listening to you on the podcast and doing this podcast with you, there's been a couple of times where I said, let's plan this out, and I can guarantee that we saved so much just in mistakes alone.

Speaker 2 (06:54):

Well, yeah, exactly. Well, and if you don't budget it out and think about what you want to do, it's real easy. Even if you're not last minute, even if you're just building up to it and you're saying, oh, this would be nice. Oh, that'd be nice. And you forget how often you do that, and then all of a sudden you're spending twice as much as you meant to. And then of course, closely related, that is make a list. And I don't care what it is you're doing, whether it be travel or cooking. I mean, cooking is probably the best example of this is just make a list before you go. You would be surprised how much you can save by just being thoughtful ahead of time. And so whatever you're doing, buying gifts, cooking a big meal, make a list first, and you'll find that you'll spend a whole lot less once you make the list and you know what you want to get. Start looking out for sales, right? Amazon just had its prime days. We're coming into that season where everybody goes shopping, so lots of stores have sales, black Friday, a black Friday, black Friday's great. And if you have a list of what you're looking for, you can much more effectively navigate Black Friday.

Speaker 1 (07:57):

So now they've got Black Friday, small business Saturday, cyber Monday, and I don't know, there's

Speaker 2 (08:06):

Got to be some Tuesday

Speaker 1 (08:08):

Coming, choose Tuesday or something like that. That's

Speaker 2 (08:09):

It. Maybe

Speaker 1 (08:10):

Bermuda shorts Thursday.

Speaker 2 (08:14):

So just if you have a list, then you can be on the lookout for those things that you want to get. So when they pop up, you're ready for it

Speaker 1 (08:22):


Speaker 2 (08:22):

You're not thinking about it after the fact. And that's closely related as I was just saying, to watching for sale. So once you have a list, then you can watch for the sales, you can scan different things, put yourself on some different notification lists, that kind of stuff. And so you can get things to pop up when the thing that you wanted to get comes up for sale

Speaker 1 (08:44):

And take advantage of all those online coupons that they have.

Speaker 2 (08:47):

Yeah. Yep. That's another good way to do it.

Speaker 1 (08:50):

Sometimes my wife will send me to Michael's or one of those places to get something like go pick up a bunch of scented candles. You know how I like those. And she's always like, here's this coupon and that coupon, and then bring up the app because it has all these other coupons. And then sometimes I'll forget and I'd be like, I forgot the coupon. And she'd be like, oh my God.

Speaker 2 (09:08):

Yeah. Right. You just

Speaker 1 (09:10):

Spent 30 extra dollars that you didn't have to spend. Well,

Speaker 2 (09:12):

Yeah. And do you talk about having the apps on your phone? Thank goodness for that. I mean, I don't use coupons very often. I don't think about that stuff in that level of detail. But if you give me a lot of little slips of paper to carry around and hope that I will have them handy when I get to the right place, that's not going to happen. ADD boy here, it cannot. Little pieces of paper is my enemy, so thank goodness for the app. So let's talk a little bit about holiday meals and especially Thanksgiving because it's famously one of the biggest meals of the year. One thing that you can do is skip the appetizers. There's usually plenty of food to go around.

Speaker 1 (09:50):

Clutching my pearls. Yeah, right. Skip the appetizers.

Speaker 2 (09:54):

You don't necessarily have to have the big

Speaker 1 (09:59):

Bloom and deep fried

Speaker 2 (10:00):

On wrapped. Yeah. Were the pursuit wrapped cantaloupe or the bacon wrapped shrimp or, I know, but people will have plenty to eat without all that stuff. So if you skip the appetizers, you'll probably cut a big piece of the bill out of the whole budget. The other thing you could do is simplify the menu. So you and I started this conversation talking about what sides we liked. Be thoughtful about how many sides you make. You can do fine if you make 2, 3, 4 sides and not have to necessarily have a hundred different things on the table. So think about how can you simplify that menu a little bit and not have to necessarily spend money on a lot of different ingredients, even if you make the same amount.


Another thing you can do is buy a bigger bird. So if you're going to cook a Turkey, it can be a little more economical to get a larger frozen Turkey than to get a smaller, fresh one. And that way you can use it more ways. You can have more leftovers. You can make sandwiches out of it. You can use the carcass for soup. You can do a lot of things. And a lot of this stuff freezes pretty well. So once you're done with dinner and you've got leftovers for the next couple of days, you can freeze a bunch of it and eat it over the course of the next month or so by just cooking a little bit more at the beginning.

Speaker 1 (11:27):

And I think, if I'm not mistaken, that is the first time you've used the word carcass on this podcast.

Speaker 2 (11:33):

It may be. I'll have to be thoughtful about that. I'll have to work that into the next few episodes somehow. I can't wait. I didn't realize you're keeping me a list of the words that I

Speaker 1 (11:44):

Have. Oh, yes. So I have all many lists. Oh, I can't wait to see it. I put 'em on little pieces of paper for you.

Speaker 2 (11:49):

Thank you. Thank you for that. Yeah. My ADD brain. Thanks you. One thing that you can do is if you have a big group of people over for Thanksgiving dinner, ask 'em to bring a dish, right? Make it a potluck that enables them to participate. Most people are totally fine. They like to participate like that, and it saves you a whole lot of money because you're not necessarily feeding 10 or 15 or 20 people. Or cooking. Or cooking all of it, right? Exactly. Exactly. So engage your guests to participate in it. And while we're talking about engaging, we can engage children or grandchildren, making decorations. There are a lot of people who really want their house to look festive. I get that. I do too. I have friends who, I had a friend of mine, his wife goes a little overboard with this stuff. And in fact, she used to have a home decorating store because she loves home decorating that much.


And I was talking with him and we were comparing calendars for the next couple of weeks, and he said, well, next week I'm pretty much booked. We're decorating the house for Christmas. I said, A week, it takes you a week. I said, oh, nevermind. I've seen your house at holidays. Yeah, it'll take a week. Think about what kinds of decorations you want, and if you have kids, or if you have grandkids who are coming, do a little craft, do a little activity and have them do little decorations for the play settings or those kinds of things.

Speaker 3 (13:14):

I'm going to make a Turkey for you right

Speaker 2 (13:15):

Now. Yeah. Thank you. All of our audio listeners are appreciating this. There it is. Put the, yeah. Trace your hand. Yeah, exactly. So make some stuff. It is fun. You don't necessarily have to buy all the decorations at the store while you're thinking about what you're serving. You can also have a limited bar. You don't necessarily have to buy mixer, every kind of alcohol and every kind of mixer that everybody might want. You can certainly, people can bring stuff if it's not wine or beer, but you could, even if it's with mixed drinks, you can simplify it a little bit and not necessarily have to spend a lot of money. Because if you have to stock up a bar, that can get very expensive very quickly. And in that same vein, you could even say, we'll, provide the food. Bring your own alcohol, whatever you want to drink, have it A-B-Y-O-B party, and don't necessarily feel compelled to necessarily provide everybody all the stuff that they want to do. They can participate too. You can cook the food and they can bring what they want to drink. Everybody's happy. And so there it is. There's a list of ways that you can save money over the course of the holidays.

Speaker 3 (14:26):

Your retirement is at risk, not from the stock market, not from inflation. Taxes are putting your retirement at risk. I'm certified financial planner, Steve Waring and I specialize in helping people create low tax retirements. Unmanaged taxes can take 30, 40, even 50% of your retirement income. Learn how to defend yourself against excess taxation. Our complimentary webinar will cover all the principles you need to know to protect your money for you and your family, and keep it away from the government. This free webinar will cover how taxes are different in retirement, the taxes you pay in retirement that you don't have to pay during your working life, how to move savings into a tax-free environment, the Widows Tax, the Secure Act, the Secure Act 2.0 and what they mean to you. The webinar is free, but you have to register to save your spot. So go to focused wealth advisors.com/webinars and find out more and sign up right there. Even if you're not planning to retire for the next five or 10 years, this information will be critical for you. The longer you have to put the strategies into effect, the more you can accomplish. That's focused wealth advisors.com/webinars to find out more and to sign up today.

Speaker 2 (15:51):

All right, so

Speaker 1 (15:52):

I was going to say a 30 minute action item

Speaker 2 (15:55):

Is write down your holiday plans. We're going to go back to making a budget, making a list. You don't have to necessarily do all that stuff, but write it down. There is a magic to putting it on paper.

Speaker 1 (16:06):

All right, well, if you have any leftovers, you can send it to me. Brock Fox Care of, I can't wait

Speaker 2 (16:13):

To see what your FedEx deliveries are going to look like now. Yes, FedEx me a sandwich

Speaker 1 (16:17):

30 minute Money. Three zero minute Money is the podcast. Steve comes to us by way of focused wealth advisors. You can find all his contact information at focusedwealthadvisors.com, and we will catch you next time on 30 Minute Money.