Thanksgiving for Less

by Jill Cooper

It’s really hard to find ways to save on your Thanksgiving dinner
because, let’s face it — It doesn’t get a whole lot cheaper than a
turkey dinner! Still, I have found some ways that you can save and
today I’ll pass them on to you! 😉

For starters, the larger turkeys are usually cheaper, so buy the
largest one you can. I hear some of you groaning now about what to
do with all those leftovers because you really don’t need a 22 lb.
turkey for 6 people. Not to worry — just don’t bake the whole

I discovered one year by accident that my butcher (at a regular
national chain grocery store) would cut it in half for me. Even if
it is frozen he can still do it. This discovery really changed my
life. (That sounds dramatic, but I was really having a problem
becoming “one” with my turkeys.) I suddenly had the revelation that
I didn’t have to deal with mounds of leftover turkey that haunted
my post Thanksgiving menu for years. I had just enough for a good
old turkey sandwich and some soup. I mean Thanksgiving really isn’t
Thanksgiving without a few leftovers, is it?

It was so much easier to handle and prepare an 11 lb. turkey rather
than to man handle a 22 lb. one. Getting it cleaned and into the
pan was a breeze and in and out of the oven was just plain simple.

Just wrap the other half and freeze it to use for Christmas. I’ve
often made ham for Christmas just because by Christmas we are so
sick of turkey that we don’t want to think of preparing another one
— ever! By not creating so many leftovers, your family might not
mind having turkey again. That’s also potentially one less thing to
buy for Christmas dinner.

Another way to save is by making your own pies instead of buying
the expensive pre-made ones. If you are daunted by the thought of
making pie crust, just buy a ready made one. They are usually on
sale for very little around Thanksgiving. It really isn’t that hard
to make the filling for most pies. Often they are easier to make
than a cake or cookies. If you like the traditional pumpkin pie,
most cans have the recipe on the back.

If your family and friends aren’t fussy about having the
traditional, then you can make banana cream, chocolate, or
butterscotch pie. Just take a box of banana pudding, mix it up and
pour it into a baked pie crust. Cover with sliced bananas and
whipped topping. For the chocolate pie use chocolate pudding with
chocolate chips in it and cover it with whipped topping. For the
butterscotch use butterscotch pudding, whipped topping and sprinkle
with butterscotch chips. My mouth is watering just thinking about

You also don’t have to make so many pies that you could open a
bakery. I have found that most kids are just as happy with a
platter of cookies. Don’t overdo it. You’ll just wear yourself out!
If you have time, make the cookies in the shapes of pumpkins and

Save on your relish dish. Buying ingredients for a relish dish can
get expensive, especially where we live. One year I paid more for
my relish dish items than my turkey. If you’re having this problem,
only use 3-4 veggies on it instead of 10 and cut out on the more
expensive veggies. For example broccoli and cauliflower are very
high priced for us so I would probably use carrots and celery. I
fill the celery with cheese or peanut butter or cut them into fancy
shapes. On this occasion, the turkey is the star and most people
won’t even notice that you cut back on the relish dish.

Don’t make so many side dishes– Like I said the turkey, gravy and
mashed potatoes are above all else. By the time everyone stuffs
themselves on those, they only eat a token amount of the side
dishes. Why? —Because of course everyone wants to save room for

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the
authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will
help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking
quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit


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