How to make your Thanksgiving meal for cheap or (practically) free

How to make your Thanksgiving meal for cheap or (practically) free

From complicated Zoom setups to smaller gatherings, Thanksgiving dinner will look different for many families and friends this year.

The annual feast is further complicated because of the troubled economy, giving millions of Americans anxiety about their finances. It doesn’t help that food prices are on the rise.

LendingTree found that the average American will spend $475 on the feast — a 53% increase from last year. And about two in five hosts said Thanksgiving is a “financial strain.”

In that spirit, major grocers and food brands are getting creative with unique deals aimed at families and first-time cooks.

Aldi

The pioneering grocer best known for its eye-popping prices is selling several Thanksgiving dinner staples that amount to just $30. A dozen items are in the deal, including a Butterball turkey, sweet potatoes, bagged stuffing and pumpkin pie ingredients.

“In a time when food costs are rising and the economy and markets are shifting, Aldi reaffirms its commitment to offering shoppers the lowest possible prices on groceries,” the company said in a press release.

Aldi, which is rapidly expanding, has 2,000 stores across 37 states.

Campbell’s

Campbell’s notes that with some people hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, “many are nervous they may experience a mishap with their beloved traditional dishes,” the company said in a statement.

Campbell’s is partnering with Instacart to help if the side dish goes sideways. The “Dinner Insurance” program lets failed cooks submit a claim and, if approved, an Instacart delivery person will send over a prepared dish. Customers can choose a stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or baked brie.

However, the pilot program is quite limited: It’s available only in Manhattan on Thanksgiving from noon to 5 pm.

Walmart

You can get a whole Thanksgiving meal for free with Walmart, which partnered with savings app Ibotta to let shoppers get 100% cash back on nine items that can feed up to five people.

To access the deal, shoppers have to download the Ibotta app, link their Walmart account and add items to their shopping list. Included is Walmart’s line of side dishes, a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and a Butterball turkey.

Ibotta said that it hopes this deal eliminates “some of the financial anxiety we know they’re feeling more than ever this time of year.”

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is partnering with Progressive in offering a special type of “insurance” just in case the turkey turns out terribly.

To be eligible, customers must purchase a Whole Foods-branded turkey from the store from now through November 22. If the final product winds up overcooked, undercooked, burnt or dry, failed chefs can submit a claim with a receipt, brief explanation and picture to a special website. A total of 1,000 people will receive a $35 Whole Foods gift card to offset some of the cost of their ruined birds.

For those more confident in their cooking abilities, the Amazon-owned grocer is once again offering deals on uncooked turkeys. Prices start at $2.49 per pound for non-organic birds, with Amazon Prime members getting an additional 50 cents off per pound. Organic turkeys are slightly more expensive.

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