Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Breakdown


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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and my wife and I are hosting dinner for both our parents. I was talking to some of my coworkers who are also hosting Thanksgiving this year, and are extremely stressed out about it. They’ve got these huge lists of things that they need to purchase, and not a lot of time to do it. To be honest with you I think they’re making it a lot more complicated than it needs to be. I know because we used to do the same thing. Appetizer spread before the meal, and snack spread after the meal. Oh, and of course we need to have every side dish imaginable, right?

The problem is, once it was all said and done we’d have a fridge full of leftovers that would never get eaten.

The last two years we’ve been taking a more minimal approach to the event, preparing only the traditional favorites that our guests look forward to.

Here’s our breakdown:

  • Ham: I got a 6 pounder for just a shade over $20.
  • Turkey: 15 pound bird absolutely FREE. A grocery store in my area always has a coupon around Thanksgiving that gives you a free turkey with the purchase of a particular ham. Best. Coupon. Ever.
  • Potatoes: A five pound bag for $1.99 will make all the mashed potatoes we’ll need.
  • Frozen Corn: OK, I admit I went a little overboard here. I could have just gotten canned corn, but I freaking love Green Giant frozen corn in butter sauce packaged in a microwavable bag. $3.29
  • Jellied Cranberries: 89 Cents. I hate cranberries. My wife disagrees.
  • Stuffing: One box of stove top stuffing on sale for 88 cents.
  • Gravy: Yes, I could have made my own…but I’ve NEVER had it turn out right. $1.79 to do without the hassle.
  • Butter: One pound for $279, needed for basting the turkey, potatoes and the crescent rolls.
  • Crescent Rolls: $1.99
  • Milk: My mom and dad love milk, and I need some for the mashed potatoes anyway. $4.00 for a gallon.
  • Wine: 2 Bottles of my favorite Pinot Noir (yes it does go well with Turkey) at $8.99 a piece.
  • Desert: My mom volunteered to bring a pumpkin pie, so while someone had to buy or make it, it wasn’t me.

Total: $55.60 for 7 people (6 adults plus our son), and I will still have leftover ham and turkey for my traditional sandwiches the week after Thanksgiving.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? How much is it costing you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • We had 12 people. Although I paid more for our fresh (like alive on 11/26) turkey than you did your whole meal, I think I got significant value. EVERYTHING was homemade, reducing the cost to pennies for all sides and dessert. I haven’t analyzed the cost of it all, and I’m way to tired to do it now, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t spend more than $100, even with a $60 bird. It was well worth the work, and we also have plenty of leftovers.
    A belated Happy Thanksgiving. Give thanks always.

  • Not a bad price to feed the entire family! We make our own cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy, and tend to roast beets and carrots instead of corn, but even so, I think it would be similar. The only thing is, in Canada dairy and meat products are much more expensive. Ham, turkey, milk and butter (and the wine) would be the budget breakers!

  • @Cathie – I had several friends that did organic turkeys this year, and loved them. Maybe next year I’ll give it a shot too. Happy belated Thanksgiving to you too, my friend…hope it was a great one. 🙂

  • @Daisy – I watched my mom make homemade Cranberry sauce once…my arm hurt from watching her stir it for seemingly FOREVER! That being said…I’m not a fan of the jellied cranberries in the can, but the fresh stuff was awesome! Thanks for reading!

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