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Thanksgiving Dinner Without Much Money

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A plate of turkey dinner with turkey, cranberries and mashed potatoes.
Not having a lot of money during the holidays can be tough. However, you can still have a nice Thanksgiving dinner when you are short on money. This is a guide about having a Thanksgiving dinner without much money.


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By 5 found this helpful
December 11, 2010

With money being so tight this year I was very worried about whether we would be able to have any sort of Thanksgiving Day dinner. So after some serious thinking, I put my plan into action, and we ended up having the best Thanksgiving ever.

Just before Halloween, every time I went food shopping I picked up two to three extra items that we would have at Thanksgiving My husband isn't a big turkey eater so we bought two boxes of On-Cor Turkey Slices out of the frozen food aisle. It was the first thing we bought because we learned from the year before that anything with Turkey in the Frozen food aisle is long gone and sold out before Thanksgiving.

The next shopping trip we picked up some cranberry sauce and stuffing. The trip after that we picked up what I would need for a green bean casserole and scalloped potatoes.

The forth trip we bought what was needed to make our sweet potato casserole and turnips.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we had an incredible Thanksgiving with plenty of leftovers. I will definitely be doing the same thing for Christmas and all future holidays.

By caroleerose from Madison, AL

Comment Was this helpful? 5
November 19, 20121 found this helpful

Where I live, unprocessed food is NOT always cheaper, in fact, it is rarely cheaper. And yes, buying a whole turkey is the best price/lb, IF you have the means to do so. And making homemade gravy is easy, IF you know how to cook. BUT, this post wasn't about the ideal way to shop or cook. It was how someone who was barely able to afford a Thanksgiving meal for her family made that possible. She planned, and did the best with what she had available to her, which is a lot more than some are able to do. I believe congratuations are in order. Like Maya Angelou said, "You do what you know how to do, and as you learn better, you do better." This is how I started my stockpile, just a few things here and there. It really adds up and impacts a family's lives.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
December 12, 20100 found this helpful

Glad to hear that even on a tight budget you made what you had work for you. Pre-planning is always key and this is a great example of that concept. Keep planning ahead, it is always worth the effort!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 19, 20120 found this helpful

For slightly more than the oncor turkey you could buy a turkey breast. It's large enough that you would have leftovers, and it is lower in sodium than the frozen gravy with a few slices of turkey in it. Better value for your money. Learn to make gravy from scratch, it costs pennies! Right before Thanksgiving you can get canned veggies for $.45-$.48 a can, so I would worry about those last. The less processed food is always cheaper, and I'm surprised at some of the things called food. Better yet, buy a whole turkey. Get the largest you can find, and have leftover turkey for dinner 3 more nights, that's really good bang for your buck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 19, 20120 found this helpful

Notice, the box even says gravy and sliced turkey, meaning you are buying gravy with a little turkey in it.

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November 20, 20160 found this helpful

Right on!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

November 23, 20103 found this helpful

I just received my Thanksgiving Food Box from a local church, and decided that I would try and make a complete Turkey Day Dinner for about 8 people from only the food in the box. Here's what they gave me:

And here is the menu I came up with for Thanksgiving Dinner:

Baked Turkey: turkey


Mashed Potatoes: potatoes, butter, and evaporated milk

Stuffing: stuffing mix, celery, and apples

Green Beans: can of green beans

Sweet Potatoes with Sugar and Butter: can of sweet potatoes, sugar, and margarine

White Cheddar Pasta: box of pasta mix

Apple Crumble or Cobbler: apples, flour, sugar, and butter

Chocolate Cake: cake mix and eggs

I think that will do it, and it's plenty of food. Most of these dishes are easy to make, and You can find recipes for most of them online or maybe at Thriftyfun. Happy Thanksgiving!

By Laurie from Portland, OR

Comment Was this helpful? 3
November 23, 20100 found this helpful

Laurie you have a real good looking meal. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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