How to Save Money on Your Thanksgiving Turkey



No doubt, the biggest expense on Thanksgiving is your main dish,  turkey.

Whether you are a dark meat or white meat fan, this bird can cost you a pretty penny. The good news is, there are several ways to save money on this holiday favorite.

In this post, I will show you how to snag some savings on the big bird!

8 tips for saving money on Thanksgiving Turkey

8 tips for saving money on Thanksgiving Turkey



1. Skip buying just the breast.

You may only like the white meat on your Thanksgiving plate, but the dark meat is amazing when used in other recipes. Buying the whole bird can save you money as it is less processed than just the breast, plus, you get to have the carcass so you can make poultry stalk from it, creating a double savings.


2. Price match

Most stores get extremely competitive this time of year when selling their turkeys and will even match the advertised price at a competitor’s store and offer a small discount on top if you just ask. Make sure you bring your ad with you and ask to speak to a manager for this deal.

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3. Start looking for coupons.

Brands like Butterball put out coupons in weekend papers and on other complimentary products to entice you to buy their brand. They will often be for $3-$5 off a bird if you buy something else. Also, be sure to check wine, champagne and beer for peelies and tags that offer discounts as well.


4. Unless you know a local farmer, go for frozen turkeys as they will no doubt be cheaper in price.

Thawing a turkey may be time consuming, but you could save 30-40% by getting a bird frozen as opposed to fresh.


5. Buy larger than you will need and use the extra you spend as part of your weekly meat budget.

You will have leftovers and planning for them before the holiday is a great strategy for saving the most you can. If you think of your turkey purchase as bulk meat order, you can save yourself money on other meat you may have bought for the week. Leftover turkey can be made into sandwiches, soups, and even enchiladas. Did you know your butcher will most likely cut a turkey in half for you as well? If you just don’t want to deal with all the leftovers, get the largest turkey you can find and only cook half of it, freezing the rest for Christmas.


6. Help with a turkey drive in town and you could walk away with a free bird of your own.

Many local communities do turkey drives to support local low income families. Ask if you can volunteer and ask if you can get a free turkey as well for the help. It never hurts to ask! Similarly, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen and serve the homeless this special meal and get free dinner.


7. Go in on the bird with guests.

If you have a large number of guests showing at your door for the feast, ask one or two families to chip in on the cost of a large turkey. If you have a quite a few friends and family, ask a local supermarket about a wholesale bulk order discount.


8. Look for specials at stores to save on your turkey when you buy other items.

In years past, I have seen stores offer a FREE bird to anyone who spends over $100 during the promotion period, usually of just a few days. Wait to go grocery shopping till this time and you could score a free turkey!


Do you have tips on how to save money on Turkey this Thanksgiving? Go ahead and share it with us using the comments.


  1. There is a promotional here in Hawaii that when we buy over a certain amount of groceries we get a free turkey. I think that’s a great idea because we can buy all the other ingredients needed for Thanksgiving dinner knowing that we will get the turkey for free.

  2. In the past I had always bought fresh thinking it was the only way to go. But last year Walmart had Canada Grade A turkeys for 99 cents a pound and I bought 2. They were actually the best turkeys I had made ever! So now I’m not afraid to save money buying frozen!

  3. This is really good advice. On Thanksgiving it mostly is just my wife and I so we only get a roast or breast. But I will pass this along to other family members.

  4. Definitely my favorite Holiday… in Chicago we do whatever necessary to get that Turkey Home, so sometimes we overlook some of this great tips, i will implement this year.

  5. Here’s my money saving tip: Go to your mom’s and eat! 😉 Seriously though, we’ve gotten several deals on turkeys through grocery stores that were offering a coupon for $.19 a pound! We grabbed the maximum number allowed and put them in the freezer. Nothing like a full turkey dinner in the middle of February!

  6. Great tips – I’d never thought to look for turkey coupons before! Normally the stores have promotions around here that give you points for your purchases in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Once you reach a certain number of points you get a free turkey!

  7. Around here the super markets give away the turkeys with a certain amount of money spent. So i guess its not really a giveaway.

  8. Thanks for the great tips on getting the most turkey for your money. Considering there are sales at this time, it sometimes pays to get more than one. You can freeze the second one, saving it for another holiday or even another time of the year when you’re just in the mood for having turkey.

    I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving again this year. It’s the one time I get together with the most important people in my life, my children and family.

  9. I have to admit that I don’t make turkey for Thanksgiving. All my family makes other plans where they have turkey dinners. So, I have a meal with ham the weekend before or after Thanksgiving. I love the idea of making sure to buy a bigger turkey than needed to have leftovers.

  10. I’m not a cook or shopper, but I will share this with my wife that does do all of this. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I LOVE TURKEY! Another reason why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite seasons! Some people can’t stand the word turkey at about 1 week after thanksgiving lol, me? I just say keep it coming! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips to save on the $$$ this just may let me buy 2!

  12. Wow haven’t been thinking of Thanksgiving but now that you posted, I have begun to, I love Thanksgiving. Thank you for puttting me in a better mood with this post!

  13. Since I am not a shopper, I really don’t have the idea on some these tips herein. But on the other hand, I can still cook that is why I can still appreciate some of your tips. I really find them very useful, thanks for the share.

  14. We love Thanksgiving turkey! Our family usually does price comparison. I love the idea of asking to split the cost of the bird. We freeze some of the leftover meat and use it for sandwiches and such throughout the winter.

  15. I love it!!! What a great post! People love to see ways to save and when it comes to the holiday season, it is so very important:)

  16. I’m thankful year round so instead of buying turkey to enjoy with family on any given day, we buy them after the holiday when they are highest priced and pick them up for cents on the dollar. The meal is just as enjoyable and our pocketbook is fuller, too.

  17. All great advice. My wife and I follow all of your principles and they work!!! Especially being able to skimp on some groceries due to all of the leftovers, lol…

  18. normally we share cost of the meal I buy the ham grandma buys the turkey and the rest of the family buys the side dishes

  19. Pingback: Saving Money on Hosting A Thrifty Thanksgiving Party | Parenting | Books | Insurance | Reviews
  20. I do alot of the tips as I am getting older and love couponing and saving money. After three kids that have gone thru college you learn to save.

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