Thanksgiving Day Feast on the Cheap

   By drodriguez  Nov 19, 2008

The idea of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for a veritable army of family members is bound to be causing some worry during these tough economic times.  What if you just can’t afford it this year?  Planning a potluck dinner where all of the guests bring an assigned dish, henceforth splitting the grocery bill is a great way to save this year. 

But what if you have relatives coming from out of town or your own brood at home is big enough to send you into the red?  A recent article from offers some great tips on how to save on your Thanksgiving dinner this year.  If you can follow these tips, you can make a meal for 8 people for well under $100.

One helpful tip is to purchase produce that is in season.  Veggies like asparagus and artichokes will be off limits, since they are out of season and likely to be overpriced.  Also, buying a bunch of fresh herbs rather than dried and jarred herbs can save you a good deal. 

When it comes to the bird, it is best to go with supermarket brand turkey.  You can still find a free-range or organic turkey and it will cost loads less than a more prestigious brand.

Another tip offered from Epicurious is to feel free to bend the rules when you are following a recipe.  If your recipe calls for three different kinds of herbs, don’t be afraid to just choose one.  Substituting water for canned stock in a soup works, as well as using flour and water to thicken gravy rather than making turkey stock.

No matter how much you spend this year on your Thanksgiving dinner, we all know what really matters is the togetherness we’ll share with friends and family.  The most memorable moments on holidays usually have little to do with the food on the table but rather the people sitting at it.

For a complete list of Epicurious’s money saving tips or to check out the menu for the under $100 Thanksgiving meal you can visit:

What do you think of the tips listed above to help you save on your Thanksgiving meal this year?

Do you have anything special you will be doing this Thanksgiving as a way to cut down on costs?

Make a Comment

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Nov 26, 2009


jh0816 by jh0816 | DULUTH, GA
Feb 09, 2009

Yum! I read this in February and I am ready for Thanksgiving again!

pplumadore by pplumadore | HAVERTOWN, PA
Dec 01, 2008

my advice is to never give up on the deals that are out there, my husband went to our grocery store on thanksgiving morning and spent just what we needed (not on purpose) for our free turkey bonus. guess you know what we are having for christmas....

haveitoldyoulately by haveitoldyoulately | BROOKLYN, NY
Nov 25, 2008

Thought that for the menu was a little pricey....Our local store PathMark was selling Riverhead turkeys for 59 cents per pound. They also had yams for $1.99 for a 5lb bag. And the store brand boxed stuffing is a fantastic starter @ a dollar per box. I say starter as it is seasoned, but I start off sauteing onions, bacon, celery and apple (cubed) in butter, add the water as directed on the box, then add the stuffing mix. You can go to Bj's or Costco for huge 14' pies. Both pumpkin and pecan are $9.00 each. And they sell a great wine Chateau Diana Elena Zinfandel (quart bottle) for $7.56. Their dinner or cresent rolls are great, about 20 for $4.95 (heated, you can't bet them)

IGrove by IGrove | Marblehead, OH
Nov 22, 2008

This year I asked family to make their favorite dish to bring. That way they each bring the one thing they love and the rest of us share our one food item . Keeping the turkey making to myself it is so easy doing it this way! Great idea

Lusadi by Lusadi | Wasilla, AK
Nov 21, 2008

I have a large family and when we do Thanksgiving day meals potluck is the way to go. Everyone contributes something and it doesn't cost anyone a fortune. It's also easiest on the hostess as she isn't required to cook a thing, just provide the space.

mkmac4 by mkmac4 | Shelbyville, IL
Nov 21, 2008

I save bits and pieces of bread for several months and freeze it for my stuffing. I can find spices for 50 cents so that helps. I make my own cranberry sauce and it tastes so much better and a better value for the money. I'll stick to one veggie. I use dry bouillion for my gravy. The idea is to keep the meal simple. I'm not doing a relish tray this year. With the turkey and all the side dishes, it should be enough. I'll make cole slaw this year instead of a salad, It's cheaper than buying lettuce, tomato, cucumber and assorted dressings. I'll make deviled eggs in place of the relish tray. Cheaper and everyone loves them. Desserts are sweet potato pie (better than pumpkin) and pumpkin mousse made with pumpkin instant pudding and some whipped topping. It's put out at this time of year only. I'll just add some cinnamon to dress it up a bit. My meal for 4 (and leftovers) will run about $25.00 including the turkey.

giene8074 by giene8074 | chatsworth, CA
Nov 21, 2008

I agree with jamiesmom, walmart has it all, but still some good tips

AJmommy by AJmommy | Haverstarw, NY
Nov 21, 2008

The turkey is free through a store promo, so we are able to spend money on sides and desserts. Coupons and stockpiling have helped. I bought the bread on sale and froze it. The gravy was on sale and I had coupons. Fresh green beans are always low cost here, so I make a huge casserole.

highlights by highlights | PATERSON, NJ
Nov 20, 2008

Thanks for the helpful tips. I'm going to try some them.

lisa619 by lisa619 | Camdenton, MO
Nov 20, 2008

great tips!

Moggy08 by Moggy08 | Raleigh, NC
Nov 20, 2008

jerilgm, I eat brussel sprouts and love them, especially roasted. They have turkey here locally for 39 cents a pound! Harris Teeter has asparagus for 1.99 a pound right now, that is cheap! You just have to watch the grocery ads. We went out and collected a bunch of black walnuts from a wild tree and spent several hours cracking and picking them over the weekend. I'll be using them in several different dessert recipes over the holidays. We ended up with a quart of nuts and at just under 4 bucks for 2 ounces at the store, we really racked up the savings.

fawn80 by fawn80 | Woodland, IL
Nov 20, 2008

I'm so glad I found this article. I'm not doing my Thanksgiving dinner until Saturday, and these tips will help a lot! The twist is I'm not asking anyone to bring food - instead they are helping hang Christmas Decorations!

TamaraSeward by TamaraSeward | Pittsburg, CA
Nov 20, 2008

We started getting Safeway meals when we got together. A good price for what you get, pretty much everything including a pumpkin pie. Since my mom will be in the hospital this year my brother & I are getting together with are significant others & making our "Thanksgiving" dinner this Sunday. So it's my first year buying a turkey. We awill be getting it tonight. Hope I find a good deal. LOL!

am_i_lost by am_i_lost | Centralia, IL
Nov 20, 2008

I thought that the grocery prices I my area were high but they are "out of this world" where ever they researched to do this artical! I bought turkey for .79/ lb and you can by or make pies and dessersts for $5 or less. The same goes for almost all of the side dishes and cassaroles I make. Things don't have to be high priced or fancy; just taste good and be family favorites! Thats what matters in my house!!!