How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget
Get a load of great money-saving tips and top-rated recipes to help you feast best for less.
Top 10 Tips to Keep Costs Down
Before we get to the recipes, let's take a quick rundown of simple ways to plan a Thanksgiving dinner that won't blow up your budget.
1. Buy Store-Brand Frozen Turkey
Turkey is usually about 40 percent of the cost of the meal. Save money by buying a store-brand frozen turkey (with a coupon) instead of a fresh bird. Be sure to allow enough time to thaw the bird: one day in the fridge for every five pounds.
2. DIY the Basics
3. Go Big
Potatoes are cheaper by the bag. Can't use a whole bag? Split it with a thrifty-minded pal. Same thing goes for buying butter, eggs, sugar, and flour at big box stores like Costco or Sam's Club. Split the packages with friends and you're sharing the savings.
4. Buy in Bulk
Herbs are cheaper if you buy in bulk bins where you can purchase only the small amounts you need.
5. Seek Out Specials
Look for store coupons and weekly specials, especially during the holidays when retailers are trying to attract you into the stores.
6. Choose Generic Brands
Generic brands are less expensive but just as good as big name brands.
7. Shop Early
Buy canned cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling and other canned goods the week before Thanksgiving when they typically are on sale.
8. Buy Some Frozen Foods
Like canned goods, frozen ingredients can cost a lot less than fresh.
9. Stick to the List
Go to the store with a shopping list and stick to your list. Impulse buys add up quickly.
10. Share the Cost
Thanksgiving potlucks are a great way to share the big feast (and the cost) with family and friends. It's a win-win all the way around.
Budget Thanksgiving Menu
Each of these crowd-pleasing recipes rates four stars or more, and you don't have to spend on fancy ingredients to get the big flavors.
"Simple, perfect roast turkey just like grandma used to make," says Syd. "Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and basted with turkey stock, the flavors of the turkey really stand out. Stuff with your favorite dressing."
"Everyone loved this dish at thanksgiving dinner," says MELODYYOON. "It's extremely simple and very tasty which helps when you've got homemade cornbread, pumpkin pie, and the turkey to cook."
"If you love good, old fashioned mashed potatoes this is the perfect recipe," says Esmee Williams. Simple and delicious."
"Nothing goes over better then a tried and true, comforting, green bean casserole," says FLOWERGRLLLL. "This is a recipe you can rely on, and the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to store in your pantry for when your ready to whip it up."
"This is a simple and quick way to enjoy a Thanksgiving favorite," says LORIEANN29. "Canned yams or sweet potatoes may be used."
"It's so nice to have such a simple, easy task when there are so many other things to worry about when making Thanksgiving dinner," says Annette. "Everyone was so impressed with the fresh cranberry sauce and it was the simplest dish I made!"
"Simple, quick, and easily made from ingredients found in the pantry and fridge," says Errantdreams. "Delicious!
Love Your Leftovers
Get the most out of your meal by turning Thanksgiving leftovers into tasty casseroles and other dishes.
Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.