Save Money, Time, and Reduce Stress with a Directed Potluck

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Save Money, Time, and Reduce Stress with a Directed Potluck

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We're about to enter the holiday season and many families will be making plans to get together to celebrate. 

Some people (like my wife) live to host such gatherings, and some are happy to step aside and let someone else do it.  But I think everyone can on some level agree that being the host is at least a little bit stressful. 

Stressful not only on the nerves but also on the bank account.

There are many things that have to be taken into consideration when hosting a holiday gathering:

  • Munchies before and after the meal
  • Main course
  • Side dishes
  • Dessert
  • Soft drinks
  • Adult drinks

The logical and common solution to this situation is potluck, but that doesn't always workout the way a host would hope. 

On more than one hosting occasion we've worried that nobody would bring the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving day, or no one would bring mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner.  In those instances we've ended up making all the staples, resulting in there being so much left over food many of the guests probably wondered why they even bothered to make their dish. 

It's a waste of time, food, and money for all involved.

The answer to this problem is what what I like to call the directed potluck.  The concept of a directed potluck is simple:  After you volunteer to host a gathering, you make up the menu for the event.  When the guests ask what they can bring, you tell them.  After all,  you know Aunt Betty makes the best mashed potatoes, Uncle Jack loves to make apple pie, and under no circumstances should Cousin Jane be allowed to bring green been casserole because everyone knows her "secret ingredient" is enough cayenne pepper sauce to make everyone's mouth hurt.

Having a directed potluck ensures that you don't have duplicate dishes, reduces the amount of wasted food and money for everyone involved. 

It also reduces the stress on the host, which on Thanksgiving Day will be Vonnie and I.  Having the confidence that we have all the traditional dishes covered frees me up to concentrate on what I do best, which is making the Turkey. 

This year I'm throwing the turkey on the smoker for the first time, so wish me luck. 

How do you save money and reduce stress for your extended family holiday gatherings?  Have you ever tried a directed potluck?

Related Links:

Potluck Wine Tasting

Socializing on a Budget

Save Money With an Open Grill Potluck


Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Can I come to your Thanksgiving potluck?  I love smoked turkey!  I make an awesome chocolate chip cheesecake.

  • If you're bringing the cheesecake, you're welcome anytime, sugarmagnolia131.  :)

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