Make Thanksgiving meal, and not just the turkey, a deal

Is it possible to make Thanksgiving dinner for eight with all the trimmings for less than $20? Walmart says yes, but I think you can bring the cost down even more by shopping at multiple stores.

Walmart is selling select birds for 40 cents a pound, which means a 12-pound bird is less than $5. You can buy up to two of them. Here's how they figure you can spend your other $15 to create a big 'ol turkey meal. Buy...
  • Canned Green Giant vegetables (check if fresh, in-season veggies like Brussels sprouts are cheaper).
  • Canned cranberry sauce (again, I wonder if fresh berries would be cheaper).
  • Stove Top stuffing (with a coupon and/or sale this is your cheapest option).
  • A 5-pound bag of red potatoes (or whatever is on sale, but either way don't pay more than 99 cents a bag).
  • A 12-count package of Sara Lee dinner rolls (If you have flour on hand it is cheaper to make them yourself.
  • One 22-ounce pumpkin roll cake.

No matter where you buy your Thanksgiving groceries, there are lots of easy ways to keep costs down and still have a fabulous meal.
  • Get a free turkey from the supermarket by shopping there regularly leading up to the holiday. Ask your local grocery how to qualify.
  • Make it a potluck and ask others to sign up for sides and dessert.
  • Stick to your list at the grocery store. Don't let your emotions justify extra purchases.
  • Brined turkeys often cost more. Here's a recipe to brine at home. The hardest part is finding a container big enough to bathe your bird in salt water.
  • Comparison shop by checking the grocery sales fliers for the best deals.
  • Do you really need four weeks worth of leftovers? Cook a little less and your wallet will thank you.
  • Trim unpopular side dishes from your list. I swear, you don't need three yam dishes!
  • Check manufacturer sites for coupons for pumpkin pie, cranberries, and other items on your list.
  • Use your regular dishes instead of buying paper plates.
  • Flour and yeast are cheap. Make your own rolls instead of buying them.
  • Create a centerpiece with a bowl of fruit, children's artwork, candles, or with greenery from your garden. Much cheaper than buying a floral arrangement.
  • Stock up on Thanksgiving items that go on sale post-holiday. Christmas is right around the corner.
If you are truly destitute, check out eHow's tips on where to get a free turkey. (Salvation Army, local Boys and Girls Clubs, churches, etc.)

Want more ideas for your bird? Click here to search AOL's food and entertainment sites for a delicious number of ways to do your Thanksgiving up right.
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