The frugal Friendsgiving: A wallet-friendly guide to Thanksgiving in your dorm room

Story by Amy Turner, Staff writer

Thanksgiving is a time for full bellies, fun festivities and being surrounded by friends and family. A special twist on the beloved holiday has recently emerged, especially on college campuses, when students celebrate Thanksgiving together before separating for the long Christmas break. Friendsgiving is fun for your entire friend group but it can get expensive. Here are some quick, Friendsgiving tips to keep your heart full, your wallet fuller and your stomach the fullest.


Decorating a space will make your Friendsgiving party more inviting and set the stage for the oncoming Instagram pictures that are sure to be taken. Just because you choose to decorate doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.

One easy, inexpensive idea for your Friendsgiving celebration is DIY cute and colorful place mats. To make these, just weave together construction paper, using scissors to cut strips and tape to hold them together. Construction paper can be purchased at Walmart for two to three dollars. Scissors and tape are both common finds around residential colleges or the library. If you don’t have either of these, ask around and surely some friends will let you borrow them. The instructions for the craft can be found at

Another cheap and easy idea is to pick up some mason jars at Walmart, or find a friend that already owns a few. They can be purchased for approximately three dollars. After you have your jars, search outside for acorns to fill them with. Find a few colorful leaves to place around the jar and a cute, Instagram-worthy table piece is created. The mason jars can also be reused in multiple ways, making them a worthwhile purchase.


It may be called Friendsgiving, but we all know food is the main attraction for any Thanksgiving gathering. Turkey and the works can be expensive. So here are a few ideas to help create a wallet-happy feast.

Your first option is to enjoy a warm, home-cooked meal provided by one of the restaurants around Murray. This will ensure no kitchen mishaps will occur while your celebration is on-going. Some restaurants near campus where you can eat Thanksgiving food such as mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing include Cracker Barrel and Martha’s Restaurant. At both restaurants, dinner prices are around ten dollars, depending on what you order. Dining -out will also eliminate the decoration cost for the evening.

Making the dorm kitchens work is also an option. There are several easy, dorm-approved recipes for creating a feast for friends. Another way to keep cost down is to split up and serve the meal, potluck-style, so each friend brings something. To find easy recipes, run a Google search or head to Pinterest for some quick inspiration. To keep the grocery bill down, try to find off-brand, or store brand items to use in your food creations. This can save you some money.


To really bring the Friendsgiving event to life, plan a few fun activities to make memories that will  last a lifetime. The activities can be super simple and still just as effective and fun.

You can take the leftover construction paper from the placemats made for your celebration and cut out fun shapes to attach to popsicle sticks. This will create props for a fun photo session with your group of friends. The popsicle sticks will cost around three to five dollars and you can get them at places like Walmart or Dollar General.

Check out board games from your residential college front desk to play with your crew. You can also bring along some crowd favorites that you may already own to play. A deck or two of playing cards can make several games possible for a large group of people. You can find a variety of card games ideas on Pinterest.

At the end of your Friendsgiving festivities, take some time to discuss what you are thankful for. This will fill your heart with thanks once your stomachs are full of food and will allow you to get some encouragement while finals are drawing near.