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How To Serve A Thanksgiving Dinner For Less Than $30

By: Jason Aubry Email
By: Jason Aubry Email

Are you worried you may not have the financial ability to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for your family this year? Some southern Colorado families suffering tough economic times say that's a real possibility. So we wanted to find out just how much money it would take to create a feast that could feed six to eight people. The goal was to keep the total price under $30.

We constructed a list of items we would need for our holiday meal. The list included the following:
- A 10 lb turkey
- Stuffing to fit the turkey
- A can of chicken broth
- A can of cranberries
- A can of cream of mushroom soup
- 4 cans of green beans
- A can of fried onions
- 2 cans of sweet potatoes or yams
- 10 lbs of potatoes
- 1 lb of raw onions
- A can or jar of gravy
- A dozen dinner rolls
- A pumpkin pie
- A container of whipped cream
- A gallon of milk.

We went to three major grocery chains, Albertsons, King Soopers and Safeway to find the cheapest items to fit our list. King Soopers came close to beating our $30 challenge, but Albertsons took first place coming $1.14 under budget. Here is the list of items and prices from Albertsons.

- 10lb turkey - $3.50 (if you purchase an additional $25 in items)
- 2 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing - $2.00
- A can of Swanson chicken broth - $0.75
- A can of Jellied Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce - $1.25
- A can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup - $0.79
- 4 cans of Del Monte French Style Green Beans - $2.36
- A 6oz. can of French's Fried Onions - $3.29
- 2 cans of Princella Sweet Potatoes - $3.00
- 10 lbs bag of potatoes - $2.99
- 1 lb of raw onions - $0.69
- A can of Gravy - $0.69
- A bag of brown and serve dinner rolls - $1.59
- A Sara Lee Frozen Pumpkin Pie - $2.77
- A 8oz. container of Cool Whip - $1.00
- A gallon of milk - $2.19

King Soopers total cost rung up at $30.33, and Safeway came in at $34.53.

Another option you have is to pick the cheapest items off the list from each of the stores. The stores with the cheapest items were:

- $3.50 10lb turkey - Albertsons if you are purchasing an additional $25 in items or $5.88 at Safeway if you're not
- $2.00 box(es) of stuffing - All three stores offered a stuffing product for that would fill a 10lb turkey at a similar price.
- $0.50 1 can of chicken broth - King Soopers and Safeway
- $0.50 1lb onion - Safeway
- $1.00 1 can of cranberries - King Soopers and Safeway
- $2.36 4 cans of green beans - Albertsons
- $0.69 1 can of cream of mushroom soup - King Soopers
- $2.50 1 can of fried onions - King Soopers
- $1.00 a dozen dinner rolls - King Soopers
- $2.77 A pumpkin pie - Albertsons
- $0.99 A container of Cool Whip - Safeway
- $2.59 A 10lb bag of potatoes - King Soopers
- $3.00 2 cans of sweet potatoes - Albertsons
- $1.99 A gallon of milk - King Soopers and Safeway
- $0.55 A can of gravy - Safeway

For those of you who may not have the time, or simply don't want to go through the process of cooking your own holiday meal, all three stores offer pre-cooked thanksgiving dinners. Each are priced at $39.99 but, depending on which store you go to, offer different amounts and in some cases items.

Safeway's $39.99 meal:
- A 10-12 pound fully cooked turkey
- Two pounds of stuffing
- Three pounds of mashed potatoes
- 24 ounces turkey gravy
- 15 ounces cranberry sauce
- A dozen dinner rolls
- Eight inch pumpkin pie

King Soopers $39.99 meal:
- A 10-12 pound pre-cooked turkey
- 22 ounces of stuffing
- Four pounds of mashed potatoes
- 30 ounces turkey gravy
- 16 ounces cranberry relish
- A dozen pan rolls
- Eight inch pumpkin pie

Albertsons $39.99 meal:
- A 10-12 pound pre-cooked turkey
- 2 3/4 pounds of cornbread stuffing
- Three pounds of mashed potatoes
- 24 ounces turkey gravy
- A dozen King's Hawaiian dinner rolls


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