Winner, Winner, Turkey Dinner

How to Lower the Cost of Thanksgiving

Shopping for your turkey dinner yet? Here’s some good news: This year’s Thanksgiving meal for a family of 10 will cost just $49.48, according to the American Farm Bureau. That’s only a 28-cent increase from last year, which is less than 1%.

Of course, we have some ideas on how you can lower the cost even more on one of the year’s most anticipated feasts. Get a taste of these.

  • Turkey is the table’s big-ticket item. Fortunately, some stores guarantee the lowest price on turkey and will match a competitor’s price when you show their ad or coupon.
  • Frozen turkeys typically cost less than fresh, but you have to allow time to thaw—about a day for every 4 pounds. Planning ahead can save you a significant part of your Thanksgiving budget.
  • If you’re only serving a few guests, don’t feel obligated to buy the whole bird—a turkey breast will do the job.
  • There is no law stating you must make everything from scratch. Will your family refuse to eat if you don’t make grandma’s green bean casserole? Probably not. Make a few of your family’s favorite traditional sides, but also take some shortcuts and looks for coupons on pre-made side dishes like potatoes or cranberry sauce.
    • Dig into the depths of your frozen food stash and see if you have any leftover rolls or sliced bread. Thaw it out for Thanksgiving and use this bread for your stuffing.
    • You’ll save around 50% if you make your own pies (as opposed to buying them at the store), and most are ridiculously easy to make. If you know how to peel and slice apples and buy piecrust, then you can make pie. Plus, it can be served at room temperature so you can bake it early in the day.
      • When it comes to adult beverages, stick to bottles of wine under $10. If you pour it into and serve from a decanter and most guests won’t think twice.

One final tip: Ask for a rain check if the store is out, even if a sale item won’t be restocked by Thanksgiving Day. You still need to eat in December, so why not take advantage of those Thanksgiving deals.