Make a Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner for $5 Per Person -- It's Totally Possible!

Written by Stephanie Nelson, The Coupon Mom

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to shop and prepare for the most important holiday meal of the year! And believe it or not, you can do it for less than $5 per person. Just follow my 5 tips ...

1. Buy a Frozen Turkey. My store’s frozen turkey is 69 cents per pound, and the fresh turkey is $1.49 per pound. I’ll save $16 by buying a 20-pound frozen turkey and no one will be able to tell the difference. The key to a delicious turkey is baking it correctly, so watch an online video if you haven’t cooked one before. Be sure to buy your frozen turkey at least four days in advance to leave plenty of time for thawing.


2. Have a Plan. Taking time to plan your list and shopping strategy is key. The ingredients found in popular, traditional dishes are always the featured sale items at the stores. Scan your store’s circular to find sale-priced sweet potatoes, white potatoes, green beans, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, gravy, frozen or fresh pies, ice cream, and dinner rolls. Inventory your kitchen to see what you already have on hand, then find the best deals at

3. Save by Substituting. Instead of using a $4 bag of pecans for a sweet potato casserole topping, use a crumble topping with oatmeal, butter, and brown sugar that costs pennies to make. Try this recipe for a delicious crumb topping I love. Instead of making the green bean casserole with fried onions on top ($4 for the cream soup and fried onions alone), I save money and calories by serving plain green beans tossed with a little butter, seasoning, and a few toasted almonds. It's also less expensive -- and quicker! -- to bake a pumpkin pie than an apple pie from scratch.

4. Be Coupon Crazed. Thanksgiving is a grocery coupon bonanza. The coupon circulars in the newspaper have more coupons than usual in the Sunday issues prior to Thanksgiving. You can also find tons of printable grocery coupons online.

5. Shop Prices From Home. Review the weekly advertising circulars for all nearby grocery stores to see which stores have the best prices for your items. Each store will feature a few of your items as rock-bottom sale items. Find your stores' best deals and matching sales prices with coupons using a Grocery Deals List that covers stores in 50 states. is a free money-saving website with over 7 million members. Her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

Do you use a fresh or frozen turkey for Thanksgiving? Can you taste any difference?


Image via CarbonNYC/Flickr

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