When did thanksgiving become so complicated? Years ago a traditional thanksgiving feast was uncomplicated and did not cost a fortune to make. It still does not have to be expensive, a traditional meal can be made for under $20 if you are careful and chances are good you already have most everything on hand to do so.
A thanksgiving feast is not a feast without a turkey, this will be the most expensive part of your meal, but if you shop around you should be able to get a turkey for less than $12. If you planned ahead some places give turkeys away as loyalty rewards. Final cost of your turkey? Between $0 and $12.
Turkeys do not need anything fancy to cook, you can do a simple brine if you want, all you need is a food grade bucket or XXL Ziploc bag, salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Just use 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar for every gallon of water. Add in any seasonings you want, and put your turkey in with the brine covering your turkey. Some people like to heat the brine up and cool it first, since it helps to dissolve the salt and sugar and infuse the flavors of the herbs into the brine.
Otherwise when I was a kid, a bit of melted butter and the juices of the turkey were all we ever used to baste the Turkey. We seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper and that was it. No big expense, no fancy expensive Turkey just a bargain turkey and a bit of careful attention.
Side Dishes Galore
Again there is nothing fancy about the simple side dishes we did growing up, but we always made them a bit extra special because it was Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes were dress up a bit with the addition of a bit of cream, or cream cheese and a touch of garlic and parsley. A bag of potatoes if you do not have them already is going to cost no more than$3 if you do have cream or cannot get it on sale milk works just as well. Vegetables were given some sort of glaze but were nothing more than the same vegetables we used every day. Glazed carrots are very easy to make and a bag of carrots if you do not already have them is under a dollar.
The big center piece of our dinner was the candied Yams, that you will find the recipe for here you just need 3 sweet potatoes, a bit of butter and a bit of brown sugar to make these and they taste just as rich and decadent as thanksgiving should.
If you make your own stuffing and gravy from items you have around your house, they should not cost you anything. Here is a very basic stuffing recipe that uses mostly things you have on hand, feel free to substitute seasonings if you do not have the ones listed.
A few Extras
What you see above makes a simple meal, but if you want a bit more for just a little bit of money my bread tutorial makes the best rolls ever for just pennies. the recipe does not have milk or eggs so it is very frugal to make and you won’t miss them.
Grab a cheap pumpkin at the store and bake it off, a can of evaporated milk and some sugar, and eggs and you have a homemade pumpkin filling. Pie crust is equally as easy and inexpensive to make.
A Few Final Tips
Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be fancy and if you are on a budget, just a bit of extra time and effort can assure that your cost for this family dinner is as low as possible.
There is no better time to look for coupons and loss leaders at the store. Get the lowest prices you can on items that are already on sale and then add on coupons to cut your cost even more. Make everything from scratch and keep your meal simply and you may even be able to drop the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner even more.