Snag a Free Turkey
Many grocery stores run free turkey promotions for Thanksgiving. Shop a certain number of weeks or spend a certain amount of money, and you'll score a free bird (sure beats buying one):
Look for Loss LeadersAround the holidays the competition between all the grocery chains is fierce. Take advantage of it by cherry picking the best deals from each store. It may mean hitting a few stores, but it's the easiest way to get everything you need below cost.
If it's on your Thanksgiving shopping list, there's probably a coupon for it. Flip through the coupon inserts in your Sunday paper to find coupons for everything from flour to cranberries. Then, jump online to find even more coupons that you can use:
Cook from Scratch
Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper than buying ready-made. Spend a bit more time in the kitchen, and you could cut the cost of your meal in half. Here are some recipes to get you started:
It's not easy to figure out how much food to buy when you're cooking for a crowd. Use an online meal calculator to help you estimate your needs, and avoid overbuying:
Make Your Own Spices
Spices can be unbelievably expensive. Before you load up on a bunch of spices that you'll only use once a year, check to see if it's something that you can make yourself.
If a recipe calls for an ingredient that you don't have, see if you can substitute it for something that you do have: