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Six Ways to Save Money on the Main Course at Thanksgiving

The main course will usually be the most expensive part of your Thanksgiving meal and planning ahead can help save money, no matter what you decided to serve as well as what your family prefers. 

1. Talking Turkey

Most families are more traditional and choose a turkey; however, there are a few important factors to consider. Do you want a whole bird or just the breast?  If your family does not like dark meat, then a breast would be the best choice, especially since it is usually more expensive per pound than an entire turkey.


A bird with a bone in it will lose about one-third of its weight by the time you discard bones, giblets, fat and so on. This means a 12-pound bird will yield 8 pounds of food. This would be about 4 to 8 ounces of turkey per person, ensuring that you have enough to go around. 
Contemplate buying a bigger bird than you need so that you can cook it just one time and make leftovers, such as sliced turkey breast for sandwiches or turkey chili.


Buy a turkey that is not self-basting, if you can afford organic then go for it, but otherwise it is very expensive. Look for sales on frozen turkeys and turkey breasts in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Also try local farms or farmer’s markets to see if you can buy a fresh bird direct. It is important to note, that not everyone likes turkey. So, what are some alternatives that are easy on the wallet?

2. Roast Chicken

Cook one or more chickens. Most people like chicken and you can use all the same side dishes and fixings as you would if you cooked a turkey. Oven stuffer roasters are usually on the large side if you just need one bird. Chicken breasts can be purchased for around $2 per pound in warehouse clubs if no one likes dark meat.

3. Pork Tenderloin

Pork is branded as “the other white meat”. A pork tenderloin is lean, tasty and versatile. You can use all the same sides as you would a turkey or chicken. You can also use any leftover meat for a variety of homemade TV dinners, like tacos, stir fry and more. Check out your local farmers markets, butchers or grocery sales. 

4. Ham
Some people love ham at the holidays, and buy baked ham, while pork prices are cheap, bone-in is usually cheaper. And just like you do with turkey, you can use the same sides as you did with turkey. Larger families cook both turkey and ham and make the most of leftovers. 

For some, a holiday meal isn’t complete without a roast dinner. And some people prefer red meat to poultry or pork. A large roast can feed many guests and often still give you enough for leftovers to slice up for sandwiches or use in tacos, chili and so forth. Check out the warehouse clubs or grocery sales for the best prices. If your family loves side dishes; however, roast beef would be the best choice. 

Many people have given up meat, or like to eat light, so if you are not sure who on your guest list eats what, including a vegetarian or vegan main course might be a good idea. You can find many recipes for delicious nut roasts, for example, and you can buy the nuts in bulk online. You can also buy a turkey-style Quorn roast in health food stores or online, which many people find as tasty as turkey. You can get a 1 lb. roast for about $7, although this can be expensive, a little goes a long way and you can also serve it with all the same side dishes. 

I hope you enjoyed all the various ways to save money on our upcoming Turkey Day this coming November. 
Take Care.