15 Tips For Making A Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner Without Breaking The Bank

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Budget holiday lovers: vote up the best ways to save money this Thanksgiving.

These cheap Thanksgiving tricks from budget-conscious holiday lovers might just save your wallet this year. A delightful and inexpensive Thanksgiving dinner is totally possible! If you are looking to do Thanksgiving on a budget, then check out these ideas on how to save money on Thanksgiving! And don't forget to vote up your favorites.


  • 1
    5 VOTES

    Elevate Some Mashed Potatoes

    From Redditor u/SpicyHashbrowns:

    Nothing is cheaper than mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving!

    Before I add milk to my potatoes I warm up the milk in a sauce pan with minced garlic. As I blend the very hot potatoes with a masher or mixer I add an egg (dont worry the hot potatoes cook it as you mix) it adds a new level of creaminess.

  • 2
    3 VOTES

    Get Turkey Cuts Instead Of An Entire Turkey

    From Redditor u/gooberfaced:

    You can buy turkey cuts just like you can chicken- a couple of drumsticks or thighs are always going to be cheaper than a breast, but those are available as well. And I don't mean a whole breast, just a slab of one in the packaged poultry section. Stuffing is cheap if you make your own bread cubes in the oven, bulk potatoes, gravy, bulk veggies, and some rolls and you're mostly done. Depends on if you want pie.

    Kind of depends on the staples you already have- I would never factor in milk, flour, spices, butter, etc. as most people keep that stuff around all the time.

  • 3
    4 VOTES

    Make Some $10 Cocktail Meatballs

    From Redditor u/Droidball:

    I recently had recommended to me cocktail meatballs.

    Frozen meatballs, cranberry sauce, and chili sauce in a slow cooker for a few hours. Some recipes call for other additions like brown sugar and spices.

    I've never personally made them, but they're always a crowd-pleaser at the office/unit holiday parties, and it seems like you can easily do them with about $10 worth of ingredients, plus stuff you likely already have in your kitchen if you want to add a personal flair to them.

    Cook them, stick them with a toothpick, and boom. I'm doing them for my unit's holiday party this year.

    I also usually do load mashed potatoes. My recipe is (All quantities are to taste):

    Red and gold potatoes, scars cut off and skins left on.

    Cut potatoes up into chunks to speed cooking, and boil potatoes to desired firmness, then drain and return to the pot.

    Add milk or cream

    Add shredded cheese (I prefer the Mexican blend for general cooking use)

    Add a package of bacon bits (The actual bacon ones, probably the most expensive part of the recipe at about $3.50)

    Add either chopped green onions or chives (Including freeze-dried chives if that's what you have. If you're in Tennessee or Kentucky you may even have wild ones growing in your yard, I always found them there. Saved money and taste just like green onions)

    Add a few dollops of butter or margarine

    (Optional) add sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and/or minced garlic to taste.

    Add everything together and use one of those zig-zag potato mashers to mash it all up and mix it all together.

    Fast, easy, and really cheap for how many people a shitton of potatoes can satisfy.

    Also, pasta salad.

    Cook rainbow pasta, drain and return to a large bowl or pot

    Add (As desired) chopped/diced cucumber, chopped/diced tomato, sliced black olives (Canned are fine), and chopped green onion

    Add a package of mini pepperonis or real bacon bits

    Add zesty Italian dressing until desired consistency is reached, and mix it all together (I think it's usually about 1/2-3/4 of the bottle, it's been a while since I've had a kitchen, so some stuff is a bit rusty)

    Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours to let it cool and marinate.

    I also usually add some ground sea salt and cracked black pepper, and occasionally red pepper flakes (That's usually just on my serving, though, since spicy turns off a lot of people).

    And if you're baking your turkey, absolutely throw potatoes, celery, carrots, and any other preferred vegetables around it to stew in the juices, and legitimately stuff your turkey with stuffing. Adds extra short-lived, but delicious, sides.

  • 4
    4 VOTES

    Roasted Squash Is Cheap AND Easy

    From Redditor u/xenew:

    Squash! Butternut or acorn. Cut in half, scoop out seeds, score a couple of times, smear with some butter and maple syrup, and roast. Then just scoop out yummy goodness into a serving dish.

  • 5
    6 VOTES

    Use What You Have In Your Fridge

    From Redditor u/bmwillett1:

    I made thanksgiving dinner last year on a budget and it turned out really well. I tried to use what I already had in my pantry so I did mashed potatoes, deviled eggs. I made my own rolls because I only had to buy the active yeast packets which are less than $1 for four-packs,

    I also made stuffing from scratch bc I had a lot of stale bread I wanted to use up. I used a crockpot to make it and it’s literally just diced bread, eggs, milk?, celery, and Italian seasoning I think. It was SO good, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

    I made cranberry sauce which is only cranberries and sugar, I added a splash of Dr. Pepper to give it a little extra.

  • 6
    6 VOTES

    Opt For Ham

    From Redditor u/bmwillett1:

    Honestly, the most expensive thing was the turkey and desserts. Maybe you could opt for ham instead which is a lot cheaper and easier or have someone else bring the turkey and anything else you don’t want to make or buy