If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, it’s likely that you’ll be hitting the grocery stores in the next few days. Last year, we were able to prove that it was possible to get a feast for 6 on the table for under $25.
This year, we connected with Kinoli Inc.’s shopping and grocery savings expert Andrea Woroch, for her ultimate list of frugal Turkey Day tips. Follow her advice, and study the circulars, and you could stuff your Thanksgiving table with savings.
Let’s talk turkey. You’re pretty used to comparison shopping online by now, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t apply that practice to the star of the show (and the most expensive item on the table) – the turkey. “Prices on Thanksgiving groceries like turkey and canned veggies can vary significantly from store to store, so it pays to compare costs. Plus, many stores will offer to price-match their local competitors while others will offer discounts on a turkey based on a single trip or overall spending,” says Woroch. Shoprite shoppers, for instance, could score a free turkey or ham if they spent $400 between Oct. 19 and Nov. 27. Other prices to check out: Stop & Shop is advertising frozen turkeys for 59 cents per pound with a $25 purchase, plus, they’ll price match. Pathmark is even lower at 39 cents a pound, with a $75 purchase. And at Publix, turkeys are 59 cents per pound without a minimum purchase requirement. Here’s our list of Thanksgiving turkey prices.
The staples. Lucky for you, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, and corn casserole all use inexpensive ingredients that can really fill up your table with comfort food goodness. Take the time to scout out your local grocers to see where to score the deepest discounts on these items.
The trimmings. “Whether you’re serving roasted broccoli, honey-glazed carrots or sauteed brussel sprouts as your signature veggie dish, buying whole produce will save you up to 40 percent on the prepackaged stuff,” says Woroch. Yes, you’ll have to do the washing, chopping, and prepping, but that’s all the more love that will go into your meal. If your favorite side or dessert features an out-of-season fruit or vegetable, however, consider buying frozen instead. “Frozen produce is cheaper than fresh and because it’s flash-frozen at peak ripeness, so you still get all the flavor and nutritional benefits,” she says. That goes for cranberries, too! For larger crowds, it could pay to buy oversize bags at stores like Costco.
Dessert time. Ultimately, boxed stuffing and canned gravy won’t break your Thanksgiving budget, but where you really need to focus your do-it-yourself skills is on dessert and baked goods like pumpkin pie and cheesecake, says Woroch. “Prices at the bakery are marked up 100 to 300 percent, which will send your grocery costs soaring,” she says. Also, stick to generic when it comes to flour, sugar, brown sugar, etc. These are single-ingredient items that a brand name can’t produce any differently than a store or off-brand, says Woroch, and it will cost 30 percent less.
Finally, if you’re having guests, you could always ask that they take care of those extras that add up, like the wine, a kid-friendly dessert, and/or a couple of pre-feast appetizers. With proper planning and the willingness to store hop a bit, you could create a Thanksgiving masterpiece that won’t cut into your Black Friday shopping budget. Happy eating!