Guest post by Asheritah of One Thing Alone
Your Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have to break the bank to be delicious.
This year, to help us reach our monthly financial goals, I decided to keep our Thanksgiving meal simple. I asked each of our family members which traditional Thanksgiving food is most important to them, and then strategized ways to make everyone (and our budget) happy.
Obviously, I haven’t yet prepared the meal, but here’s what we’ll be having:
- Turkey breast: $3.49
- Peas: $0.89
- Corn: $0.49
- Mac & Cheese: $0.49
- Sweet potatoes: $0.07
- Stuffing: $0.69
- Corn muffins: $0.47
- Pumpkin pie (homemade): $1
- Butter: $0.80
- Eggs: $0.50
- Milk: $0.20
In all, the meal will cost us less than $10 for 3 adults and 1 child. I’d say that’s a win!
Here’s how you can do it, too:
1. Simplify the meal.
Ask your family members what’s one item they each really want, and feel free to let go or downsize those foods that are never a big hit anyway.
My husband wanted stuffing. I wanted corn muffins. Our daughter wanted mac & cheese, and my father-in-law wanted something sweet. I felt like we HAD to have turkey, but we’re not really a fan of the big bird, so the little turkey breast tenderloin fit the bill without hitting our wallet.
We also simplified the sides. Since we’re loading up on carbs, I added some veggies to make our meal healthier but opted out of the typical casseroles.
2. Shop sales at discount stores.
I bought most of my ingredients at Aldi, but I also scored cheap produce at a local discount store that offers incredible deals (like two 10-pound bags of sweet potatoes for $1.69).
I also try to shop sales whenever I can, especially if they’re cutting already-low prices. I bought the turkey tenderloin when it was on sale a few weeks ago and stuck it in the freezer for the future. I also got the butter on sale awhile back and keep a stash in the freezer. By buying sales in bulk year-round, I can stock up and save on staple pantry items.
3. Cook what you can from scratch.
Most pumpkin pies cost around $5 in grocery stores. By making it at home, I’ll be saving 80%. I’m using a small pie pumpkin a friend gifted me for fall décor, a $0.65 can of evaporated milk, and a homemade crust that will cost a fraction of what ready-made crusts cost in-store.
Cooking from scratch means I can afford more variety because I’m paying less for raw ingredients.
At the end of the day, it’s not the Thanksgiving meal that matters but rather a thankful heart. Whether you have a table overflowing with the richest foods or a simple meal shared with those you love, the important thing is to come together with gratefulness and express our appreciation for each other.
How to you keep your Thanksgiving celebrations frugal and fun!
Asheritah is a writer, speaker, and blogger at One Thing Alone. She helps overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus through devotionals, videos, and Scripture art. She’s also the author of “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional.”
What a great idea. I spent considerably more this year and I am planning a real feast, but I still save where I can. I actually had a can of pumpkin left over from last year when I bought 2 cans with a sale and a $1/2 coupon, I scratch cook my rolls and pies/crusts, buy ingredients on sale or at a discount store, etc., and I always have a nice supply of produce on hand since it is already a large part of our diets. I do spend a lot more than I usually do this time of year, but it is a time when I pad my stockpile of baking supplies. I am actually adding a green bean casserole this year. Maybe it will be a new dish for our family. 🙂
Sounds like a yummy feast!
Davonne Parks says
Asheritah, this article is so inspiring! I love your $9 thanksgiving menu and the fact that you’re making what is the most important to everyone. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!
Thanks Davonne! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well!
Our full-on thanksgiving dinner is free, as usual! We always spend Thanksgiving week with my husbands aunt, uncle and grandma and the deal (doe the last five years or so) is that they buy everything and are on cleanup duty and I do all the cooking. We’re all foodies so I love that I get to research and try new recipes (though we do have the staple of favorites we never change) and they love having a meal done for them.
What a great trade-off! I’m sure they appreciate you cooking so they don’t have to.
Way to go! I only need to bring two items and my mother in law does the rest, but this is very impressive!
BTW-I remember your name from Cedarville. I graduated in 2012. Small world!
SUCH a small world! 🙂
Elizabeth @ Wonder Woman I'm Not says
I really like how you asked everyone what they’re favorite part of the meal was. One of the hardest things about tryng to be frugal (ay least in my opinion) is to make it feel like you aren’t depriving yourself. Sounds like you’ve struck a nice balance. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving!
This post is BRILLIANT and inspiring! Thank you so much. 🙂
I got a free turkey for being a Hospice volunteer, my daughter in law is bringing pumpkin pie, my other daughter in law is bringing green bean casserole ( a must) and I am cooking mashed potatoes, stove top, and making watergate salad. Also using a box of brownie mix I have had a long time, and I bought a box of Popsicles because that is what the kids like! Easy!
My sister wanted turkey to take home so she bought the turkey. FREE. Works out great for us. Free turkey and she gets leftovers for 3 days.
Davonne Parks says
That’s a fun trade!
My nephew wanted to make a turducken, same deal. We we’re having family + turducken on Thursday, friends + leftover turducken (and other stuff) on Saturday.
Whatever cost you can do it for is great, nothing wrong with being frugal, But, I would prefer to do without meat or baked a whole instead of serving packaged turkey. The difference in cost could not be that great. Just saying
If you actually read the whole post she explained why she chose the packaged turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. She said that they don’t like the whole turkey.
Great job on keeping your Thanksgiving costs low! We’ll be hosting 6 adults and 4 children (unless we get too much snow!) so our meal is costing us more than that, however, I was very excited to get our turkey for $0.67! I prefer a fresh bird, but I opted for a frozen one this year. With a $25 purchase, the price per pound was $0.59. At checkout, I realized I had a coupon for $7 off a turkey from another store. I asked if they would accept it and the cashier said yes! 13 lbs * $0.59/lb = $7.67 – $7.00 = $0.67
Ashley P says
That’s really smart! My friend Maggie was able to get her turkey for free by saving up money from the Walmart Savings Catcher. She would even scan receipts she found in the parking lot. When she had enough money on the egift card, she waltzed in there and walked out with a free bird!
What a great price for turkey! That’s awesome!
I will be taking our family to volunteer this year at everybody eats program in our city. I decided it was time to introduce them to giving back.
lynn m. says
Homemade pumpkin pie is right up my alley! Just from a health standpoint, both corn and peas are considered carbohydrates in dietary sense.
Actually corn is considered a carb but peas are considered a veggie from a diabetic diet perspective. Also in a gastroparsis diet as well as many other diets. Just talk to any dietitian about it.
On the plus side, corn (kernels, not cornmeal) is a whole grain.
Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker says
Peas have protein, just like beans.
Aww… thanks everyone for your help as I try to figure out how to feed my family well. I still have a lot to learn dietary-wise, but I figure whole ingredients are better than processed, so I try to include as many whole ingredients as possible.
Ashley P says
Our meal will only be a little more than that. We paid $9 for a turkey breast at Aldi’s. I’ll be making home made mashed potatoes from potatoes we already had left over. A pumpkin pie (I had the dough left over in the freezer from the last pie I made earlier this summer, a 99 cent can of pumpkin puree and a can of evaporated milk also left over from the last time I made pie) with home made whipped cream ($1.69). Throw in a 59 cent can of green beans, and that’s pretty much it. It’s just the three of us (Me, hubby, and our 16 month old son) and hubby has to work that night anyway, so we’ll just eat dinner early and call it a day.
A lot of people say I must be disappointed because my hubby works on the holidays. Mostly, we’re just thankful he has a job! He’s been working holidays our entire marriage, so I’m just kind of used to it by now. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, whatever early in the day so at least we get to spend some time together before he has to leave. And we’re not turning our noses up at time and a half!
Love your perspective on working the holidays! 🙂
TaMara Fehr says
Me, ( the mom) was the dietary manager at a nursing home for several years and before that a CNA working second shift for years. Always worked Christmas or Thanksgiving. We just worked it out. We grow almost all our own food so I bought hardly any thing except items to make stuffing and ingredients for several snack mixes and cheese spreads. Nice and convenient and we are feeding 15 people
That’s a great perspective to have! We ended up celebrating Thanksgiving twice–once with just the four of us (with the meal I described above) and another time with our extended family on Friday. I don’t think the day matters as much as the attitude of celebration and gratitude.
Nice 🙂 My Thanksgiving meal for 6-10 people usually runs about $20. I always buy items when they are at rock bottom prices. I got a #20 turkey this year for free, when I purchased $100 in groceries, on a gift card my DH received from work!
That’s awesome! Way to feed a lot of people on a small budget.