Talking Turkey: Cutting Thanksgiving Dinner Costs

thanksgivingIn just a few days our bellies will be full with turkey and sweet potato casserole.

Our wallets, however, may not be as full.

Turkey day can be expensive if you are the chef. I’ve rounded up a few great tips and deals for keeping your costs down on Thanksgiving Day, and if you have some tips of your own, please comment!


  • Andrea Woroch, a nationally recognized consumer and money-saving expert who has appeared on shows such as NBC’s Today and MSNBC, says when you buy turkey you should think small. Unless you want to eat turkey daily for the next two months, if you are purchasing by the pound it saves to buy a smaller bird.
  • Shop early. Woroch says, “Buy now for the best prices on turkey – inventory is at its highest and you can buy multiple birds if you plan a turkey dinner do-over for Christmas.”
  • Woroch also suggests asking about promotions. “Some supermarkets offer a free or deeply discounted turkey when shoppers spend a certain amount,” she writes. Some Safeway stores, for example, offer up to 16 pounds of frozen turkey for $7.99 with a store purchase of $25. Chat with a manager or someone in the deli department to determine what might be coming up in the next few days.

And after you devour the bird?

Pick it clean. Probably not the most exciting part of the meal, but you’d be amazed how much meat will come off the turkey.  I typically hold a little back for sandwiches the next day (heat up with gravy over bread and leftover fixings for a great meal!), and then I freeze meal amounts in freezer bags. I use these in the weeks to come to make soup, casseroles, and other dishes.

Speaking of soup . . . Don’t toss out the broth! It is rich and delicious, so save it and either freeze for later or use to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup for lunches.

How do you save money when preparing Thanksgiving dinner? Where have you found the best bargains?

Image via Flickr/Rhett Sutphin