Six Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Six Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Dinner

The main course will usually be the most expensive part of your Thanksgiving meal. Planning ahead can help you save money no matter what you decide to serve and what your family and guests prefer.

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time or the 10th time, I suggest you grab a copy of my new Thanksgiving Planner to help you start applying order to the chaos of the season. Plan your guest list, meal, recipes, shopping list, and much more!

Talking Turkey

Most families go the traditional route and choose a turkey. However, there are several important factors to consider.

Do you want a whole bird or just the breast?

If your family does not like dark meat, a breast would be best. However, it will usually be more expensive per pound than a whole turkey.

A bird with a bone in it will lose about one-third of its weight by the time you discard bones, giblets, fat, and so on.

This means a 12-pound bird will yield 8 pounds of food. Calculate 4 to 8 ounces of turkey per person. This will ensure you have enough to go around.

Consider buying a bigger bird than you need so you can cook once and then start making the most of the leftovers, such as sliced turkey breast for sandwiches or turkey chili.

Buy a turkey that is not self-basting. You may also want to avoid organic as it is so expensive. Look for sales on frozen turkeys and turkey breasts in the run-up to Thanksgiving.

It is important to note, however, that not everyone likes turkey. So, what are some affordable alternatives? Here are a few to think about:

Roast Chicken

Cook one or more chickens depending on the size of your gathering and you can usually find great prices per pound.

Most people like chicken and you can use all the same side dishes and fixings as you would if you cooked a turkey.

Oven stuffer roasters are usually on the large side if you just need one bird.

Chicken breasts can be purchased for around $2 per pound in warehouse clubs if no one likes dark meat.

Pork Tenderloin

Pork is branded as "the other white meat". Pork tenderloin is lean, tasty, and versatile.

You can use all the same sides as you would a turkey or chicken and you can also use any leftover meat for a variety of homemade TV dinners, like tacos, stir fry, and more.

Check with your local butcher or supermarket sales.

Getty Images - 450705255

Getty Images - 450705255



Some people love ham on the holidays and will buy baked ham. While pork prices are relatively inexpensive, bone-in ham is usually cheaper.

Once again you can use the same sides as with a turkey. Some families cook both turkey and ham and then make the most of any leftovers.

Roast Beef

For some, a holiday meal isn’t complete without a roast dinner. A large roast can feed many guests and often still give you enough for leftovers to slice up for sandwiches or use in tacos, chili, and so forth.

Check in the warehouse clubs or supermarket sales for the best prices.

A Vegetarian Option

Many people have given up meat, or like to eat light, so if you are not sure who on your guest list eats what, including a vegetarian or vegan main course might be a good idea.

You can find many recipes for delicious nut roasts, for example, and you can buy the nuts in bulk online.


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What’s your favorite side dish for Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to post questions in the comments below. Thanks!

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Six Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Dinner

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