Talk Turkey to Me: Flat Broke Thanksgiving

23 Nov

Editor’s note: Yeah, I know I promised more for Thanksgiving, but I honestly had no idea how much of a beatdown the 12 Days of Flat Broke Christmas would give me!

You know I, I’ve never seen turkey look so good. I always scarf down more than I should. But I like it. And I like pumpkin pie, too — the way that I want chocolate mousse. I gotta have two (plates). Oh, yes I do.”

— Extremely poor parody of Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” I wrote in less than five minutes

Thanksgiving is almost here, folks. You know what I’m talking about, right? That holiday that comes sometime before Christmas? Black Friday Eve?

Today, I bring you good news about this year’s Thanksgiving dinner prices: Prepare to pay LESS. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that 2009’s average Thanksgiving dinner costs will drop four percent from last year’s. The biggest contributors were milk and turkey price declines. Milk prices are down by 92 cents per gallon, and turkey is down by three cents per pound.

Let’s not forget that retailers are doing everything they can to draw in holiday shoppers this year, and they are slashing some prices. I went on a moonlight trip to Wal-Mart this past weekend and found stockers moving out a crate of Stove Top stuffing that would probably fill my kitchen. Turkeys were in just about every frozen food/refrigerated area of the store. Right at the entrance, I found a gigantinormous display covered with every Thanksgiving treat under the sun — which included $5 pumpkin pies.

Despite lower prices, there are a few things you can keep in mind to keep yourself from being less Thankful:

Potluck dinners

These can be a major way to get more for less any time you have more than one person eating together. Basically, everyone agrees to bring and/or cook a particular item so the burden isn’t entirely dumped on one person. You also don’t wind up with a Thanksgiving dinner with 10 pies and one piece of turkey.

Basically, get together as a group and decide who will bring what. Leave the more expensive items to those who are in more of a position to afford it. Let the ones who don’t have much money bring something cheap, like two bottles of Sam’s Choice pop. Also make sure that the person bringing a hard-to-fix item like a turkey CAN ACTUALLY COOK. If someone has no cooking skills whatsoever, maybe he/she can be the person bringing cups, paper plates and plastic cutlery.

Determine dinner size

This one is rather cut and dry. Don’t buy and cook enough food to feed the Duggar family when Thanksgiving is only you, your spouse, your one child and two cats.

Generics, generics, generics

Nine times out of 10, they’re the same damn thing as the name-brand item. Take advantage of these because your overall savings could be outright dramatic.

Get a newspaper

OK, so maybe I’m plugging my own industry here, but newspapers have all of those lovely sale papers from grocery stores. There’s all sorts of coupons to clip, too. Sunday papers are your best resources. Sale papers and coupons aren’t just for your grandmothers anymore. With all of these retailers trying to slash prices for economy-weary consumers, you’re bound to find some killer deals.

By the way, Thanksgiving Day newspapers will have tons of Black Friday sale papers you can use to find killer Christmas deals, too.

FYI: Here’s a CNBC slideshow of common Thanksgiving items. It shows 2009’s and 2008’s average prices for all of them.





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