Thanksgiving Dinner On The Cheap

Thanksgiving is this week. Two of the most popular search terms for this blog are “cheap ass food” and “how to feed my family cheap”.  I used to do a weekly post called “Feeding My Family of Four For Under $10”.   This made me think of how I could help you feed your family cheaply on Thanksgiving without missing out on some delicious foods. I have to say right away that I am not a fan of turkey.  Hey, if it works for you then more power.  I’m open to other things. So, this post will a few different ways that you can  quickly and easily put together a belly bursting Thanksgiving that won’t melt your wallet.

  1. Meat Product
    • You don’t need a humongous bird.  There is no reason to get a huge centerpiece of a bird where you will be praying that there are no leftovers that will force you to invent new ways to serve the same bird.  Get a bird on the small side, say 10 pounds.  You’ll have more than enough turkey.
    • If you’re looking at alternative protein sources, consider a whole fish, a pork shoulder, or a pot roast.  All of these items can be cheaper than your traditional turkey and can be a decent change of pace for your family and guests.
  2. Sides
    • Everyone gets tired of the same old, same old.  Why not do something different to an old recipe. The neighbor of the 99 Cent Chef added chickpeas to potato salad which made it totally new to him.  You might consider doing the same.
    • Borrow from another culture.  Again, my favorite 99 Cent Chef made a delicious looking Mexican inspired corn salad that I now make all the time. I’m not Chinese, but I make a decent mushroom stir fry.  Add something from a culture that you like.
    • Don’t be afraid to serve pre-made food.  Green Giant puts out a line of vegetables in sauce that I toss in the microwave and pretend that I made.  Pillsbury now has a tons of coupons out for bread rolls and biscuits.  Sometimes pre-made food comes out cheaper when you compare scratch vs. store bought.
    • Inexpensive (read cheap) side dishes include roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, bakes apples, cornbread and hush puppies, peas with bacon, and cranberry sauce.
    • If you’d like to try twists on the old sides, watch the video below.
  3. Beverages
    • A great way to save money on beverages is to simply not serve alcohol.  Don’t look at me like I’m crazy.  It’s okay to now have wine with your meal.  You can always say that you want to make sure that your guests get home okay.
    • If you’re serving alcohol, consider watering it down by making something like a spiced/spiked fruit punch (adults only, of course).  It will reduce the amount of alcohol that you use and will save you money.

There are lots of bloggers out there intent on saving you money for Thanksgiving.  One of my favorites so far is Budgeting In the Fun Stuff’s post on cheap side dishes. Finally, when you’re all done, enter the Thanksgiving giveaway contest at Squirrelers with over $400 in cash and prizes being given away.

Enjoy your holiday…cheaply.

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8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Dinner On The Cheap

  • What sort of annoys me is having to pay for alcohol for other people to drink when I don’t drink it myself.

    BYOW or BYOA I say. 😛 I can offer great drinks but they’ll all be non-alcoholic.

    I do like the idea of different ethnic sides. Hummus perhaps 🙂

  • We paid $2.50 for a 12 pounder yesterday. That’s more than big enough for the two of us. It’ll give us plenty of left over to make turkey sandwiches too. My wife can’t have any lunch meat so this will be useful for her lunches.

    • Wait $2.50 or $25? There was something in the papers today (NY) about people paying over $100 for an organic, grass-fed, no hormone, free range, semi-wild turkey. For $100 that bird should come pre-cooked with loads of sides and a bottle of wine for my troubles.

  • We don’t eat turkey. Somehow we are not huge fans of it. Anything else goes! But, hey, I love wine with my Thanksgiving dinner. But we don’t have guests. just two of us! 🙂

    • I’ve never liked turkey. Nope, nope. I hate turkey. Can’t stand it. We’re having a pork loin that’s marinating in black tea leaves and peppercorn right now. Sides are courtesy of Green Giant.

  • It’s just myself and my husband so I’m doing roast chicken instead. We usually make things on Thanksgiving that we don’t get most of the year, like pumpkin pie and broccoli cheese casserole. I’m being careful not to go overboard so we don’t waste food.

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