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The Thanksgiving holiday is a popular time of year for college students to gather in celebration. It’s often the case that many students are unable to travel home during this time due to the short break and cost of travel. This particular holiday is often found to be the most expensive time of year to fly, drive, bus or train to any location and because of this, students often choose to stay on campus and celebrate with friends. The best way to embrace this? Throw a great Friendsgiving with all of your buddies sitting around a turkey…without breaking your piggy bank.

Three Different Budgets to Shape your Friendsgiving

Keep in mind, with each of these budgets, it’s subjective to the general crowd. Each of these can be increased or decreased with the amount of people coming, space available, and amount of food needed; but, for the sake of this article, let’s assume that for each of these budgets, there are seven people attending with a dining table that can fit that amount plus lots of food!

Budget 1:

$126 or $18 per person

Budget 2:

$175 or $25 per person

Budget 3:

$350 or $50 per person

Each of these budgets has the potential to offer you and your guests a fun-filled day of food, friends, and celebration; so, remember to embrace your budget and make the most of it. For the least expensive of the options, the food will be more important than the décor but nonetheless you’ll be surrounded by friends.

Related Reading: How to Score a Free Turkey

The Job of the Host


Within the group of friends attending, one should be appointed host who can offer guidance on what is needed depending on the budget chosen and amount of people coming. Even if the party isn’t being thrown at the host’s house, it should be someone who can plan well and divide up the duties fairly. Let’s say that between you and your friends you decide to go for the middle budget of $175 or $25 per person. the first job of the host will be splitting up who will buy what.

After having split up the shopping list between your friends, which will be explained a little more in depth later, the next job of the host is picking a location and a sort of theme. By theme, I mean a color palate or fall item, like a pumpkin, that can work as the centerpiece for the festivities. REMEMBER! Just because you’re in college and on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t throw a classy Friendsgiving.

Here is a round-up of all the responsibilities of the host:

  1. Choose a budget with your friends
  2. Set a date and location (if not your house/ apartment)
  3. Choose a theme, color palate, or item to center your party around
  4. Create a list of foods to buy (keep in mind any allergies or dietary restrictions)
  5. Create a list of décor to buy (go on Amazon and search for some fun pumpkins and arrange the price list from low to high. You can find some really fun stuff!)
  6. Distribute the shopping list between the seven of you
  7. Prepare for the big event and make sure everyone has bought their respective items
  8. Arrive early to set up! Then celebrate!

Follow these steps and you’re sure to enjoy the celebration.

Plates and Utensils

Nobody likes the task of doing the dishes after dinner is over, so when you’re throwing a Friendsgiving, I highly recommend getting an attractive white set of disposable plates and utensils for the event. While you’re at the party store, don’t forget to pick up a tablecloth or runner, something that can take the excess food from the plates when people get messy and can get tossed immediately after. Another suggestion for place settings is to have friends bring their own dinner and salad plates. Mixing them up adds character to your table and you don’t have to spend money! Plus, it’s more eco-friendly.

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How to Distribute the Shopping List and Decor Between Guests

For friends who are less fortunate in the gift of decorating, be sure to give them the food shopping list. Give those who are more design-oriented the task of picking out the settings and pumpkins, while those who may not have the particular style you’re looking for can attend to the food and drink. Make sure everyone knows exactly what they are to buy, including specific ingredients to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Related Reading: The Best Phone Apps to Help Plan Thanksgiving

Last Things to Keep in Mind

  1. This budget does not include alcohol purchases! If you’re planning on bringing drinks to the party, which of course you are, then I would add  a minimum of $50 more to each budget. This number obviously depends on the number of people coming. Or keep it simple and do a BYOB!
  2. When in doubt – Pinterest is your best friend for all things holiday, including recipes and decor ideas.
  3. Keep in mind that everyone is entitled to keep whatever they buy.

For more great tips, tricks, and hacks, see our Ultimate Guide to Friendsgiving.

Related Video: This Vegan Cauliflower Mezze Is a Friendsgiving Must

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Lauren L’Heureux is currently living in Manhattan, attending undergraduate school at Marymount Manhattan College. She is expected to graduate in May of 2019 and is hoping to work in publishing while continuing to write her lifestyle and fashion blog as well as pursuing her creative writing and photography. You can find her on social media or her website to sneak a peek at Lauren’s every day life or her professional work at
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