Our experts answer readers’ investing questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we assess investing products). Paid non-client promotion: In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners. Our opinions are always our own.
- Turkey costs may be down, but Thanksgiving dinner will still be expensive this year.
- To save money, start shopping in your kitchen first and build your grocery list from there.
- Make dinner a potluck, opt for cuts of turkey instead of the whole bird, or use a Thanksgiving meal kit to save.
Inflation is finally slowing down and turkey prices have dropped, but Thanksgiving dinner will still be expensive this year.
According to the 2023 Wells Fargo AgriFood Institute report, wholesale turkey prices have come down significantly since last year, but the consumer will see a smaller drop: about 16%. And while turkey prices are down, other staples are up. Ham prices have gone up 5.2%, canned pumpkin prices are up 30%, and green beans are up 9%, according to the report.
With all of this in mind, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner this year could result in a hefty grocery bill, but planning ahead and getting a little creative can help you save money and stay on budget.
Here are five tips to save you money on Thanksgiving dinner this year.
1. Shop at home first
Look at what you already have in your kitchen before you make your shopping list. You will be surprised at what you already have on hand that you can whip up for Thanksgiving dinner. From peas and carrots to stuffing and canned goods, take stock of what is at home before you go shopping. You will automatically save money by spending less and cutting that grocery list.
2. Reduce the amount of meat on the table
When we think of Thanksgiving dinner, there is turkey, a whole ham, a roast … and I even remember a seafood option growing up. Instead of focusing the meal around the meat this year, offer hearty vegetable or quiche options or get cuts of turkey instead of the whole bird.
3. Start shopping sales now
Even though prices on the main side dishes of the Thanksgiving meal have increased, grocery stores will be running sales to get you shopping in their stores. Start shopping those sales now and base the meal around what is on sale. Make a dinner list and try to get everything you need when the price is right.
4. Make it a potluck
If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, task everyone attending with bringing a dish or beverage so the host doesn’t bear the cost of the entire dinner.
Offer to cook and provide the turkey and everyone else brings the fixings, like green beans, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes. You can even create a spreadsheet and have people sign up for what they want to bring so you can make sure that there isn’t too much of any one item.
5. Use a Thanksgiving meal kit
In an effort to make Thanksgiving prep easier and less expensive, several retailers have put together Thanksgiving meal kits that have all you need in one place and for a budget-friendly price. Look into Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Target for these kits, which can range in price from $30 to $77 depending on what is included.
For example, Walmart has a meal kit for $30 that includes a 16-pound turkey, chicken stuffing mix, canned turkey gravy, french fried onions, cream of mushroom soup, canned cranberry sauce, and a pack of rolls. Target’s feeds four people for $25.
Build a Budget The best budgeting apps can help you get your finances in order and track your monthly spending. Top offers include Rocket Money and Simplifi by Quicken.