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Nov 082012
 November 8, 2012  Posted by  Expired

Money can be tight around the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the important things, like sitting down to a nice Thanksgiving dinner with your family. I scanned this week’s grocery store circulars to see if I could come up with a Thanksgiving feast for six people for $25 or less and, believe it or not, it can be done. Obviously, not everyone shops at the same stores, and grocery ads change week-to-week, but with a little planning, there’s no reason you can’t find equally good deals between now and Thanksgiving.

Here’s the menu for a Thanksgiving meal that will feed a family of six for under $25 (plus tax). To get these prices, you’ll need a rewards card for each store, so if you don’t have one, sign up (it’s free). To save even more money, use coupons.

Turkey: 47 cents a pound at Lowes (the grocery chain, not the hardware store). The general rule is one pound of turkey per person, but you’ll probably have a hard time finding a turkey that’s much smaller than 10 pounds. So at this price, the cost of a 10-pound turkey is $4.70. Here are some tips for roasting a turkey.

Video: How to Roast a Turkey

Mashed potatoes: $2.99 for a 10-pound bag at Kroger (a 5-pound bag is plenty if you can find one that’s cheaper). You’ll also need milk ($1.99 a gallon at Thriftway) and butter or margarine (88 cents at Price Chopper). Here are some instructions for making mashed potatoes.

Gravy: 99 cents for a packet of McCormick turkey gravy at Piggly Wiggly. You’ll probably need two packets, so your total cost is $1.98. Or you can make your own gravy. Here is a recipe.

Stuffing: $1.29 for a 6-ounce box at Kroger (Stove Top). One package serves six.

Dinner rolls: 99 cents for a package of nine at Piggly Wiggly.

Cranberry sauce: $1.49 for one can at Kroger (one can should be enough).

Green bean casserole: 49 cents for Green Giant green beans at Kroger. You’ll need two cans, so your total cost is 98 cents. You’ll also need one can of cream of mushroom soup (59 cents at Kroger), one large can of French fried onions ($2.99 at Kroger), and milk (you should have enough left over from the mashed potatoes). Here’s a recipe for green bean casserole (I use canned beans instead of frozen).

Pumpkin pie: $3.99 for an 8-inch pumpkin pie at Lowes Foods or at Kroger.

Here’s a breakdown of your costs, which you can also use as your grocery list:

  • Turkey: $4.70
  • Potatoes: $2.99
  • Milk: $1.99
  • Butter: $.88
  • Gravy: $1.98
  • Stuffing: $1.29
  • Dinner rolls: $.99
  • Cranberry sauce: $1.49
  • Green beans: 98 cents
  • Cream of mushroom soup: 59 cents
  • French fried onions $2.99
  • Pumpkin pie: $3.99

Total = $24.86

What are your tips for making Thanksgiving dinner on the cheap?

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Julie Henry

Julie Henry, RN, MPA, is a freelance writer, editor, and project manager who loves the thrill of scoring a good deal. She writes a bi-weekly "On the Cheap" column for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach. In addition to writing about deals and discounts, Julie is an established medical writer. She has done work for a number of national health care organizations, including The Joint Commission, The American Academy of Family Physicians and the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, she now lives in Myrtle Beach. Julie owns and operates Kansas City on the Cheap, Myrtle Beach on the Cheap, and Charleston on the Cheap.

  4 Responses to “Cheap and easy Thanksgiving dinner for $25”

  1. It’s incredible that Thanksgiving dinner could be that inexpensive, but while I was reading your article I noticed at least a few thing that can be purchased with coupons! (Print them here:

    Just one example is the Stove Top Stuffing at Kroger. There’s a 50¢ coupon that will be doubled to $1 at most Kroger stores, making it only 29¢ per box!

  2. although I have celiac and have too eat Gluten free—-there are even cheaper ways too eat for T-day, go to day old bread store and get the older bread that they sell for 75 cents to a dollar dry it out, make your own stuffing, less salt, less horrible MSG in it, gravy is way easy to make….again less salt, cranberries, (fresh are less then a dollar a bag, a little water, a little sugar, a little OJ and you have enough for T-day and Christmas…..come on a little work on most of this and you can have a cheaper meal and more healthy

  3. While I think your article is fantastic, you forgot to mention tax….

  4. Thanks! I’m so glad you liked it. Actually, it does say “…under $25 (plus tax).” If you use coupons, you may be able to get below the $25 mark, tax included.

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