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Where to get the lowest price on Thanksgiving turkey

While family gatherings may be a little different this year, many of us will still be on the hunt for the cheapest turkey prices in an effort to make the annual Thanksgiving celebration as abundant (and delicious) as ever. 

To help with this, we’ve compiled some of our best tips for saving on turkeys. 

We also have other articles to help you have a fun and frugal feast, including:

How to get the best turkey price this Thanksgiving

The month of November is one of the best times of year to buy turkey on sale. You should easily find whole, frozen birds for less than $1 per pound, and some grocery stores will even offer a free turkey with purchases over a certain dollar amount, or when you buy your Christmas ham along with it.

If you don’t need a whole turkey, you can shop for a turkey breast instead – just remember that you won’t get the cheapest price per pound of turkey. It may be more frugal in the long run to buy the whole bird and have lots of Thanksgiving leftovers. 

How much turkey do you need per person? The rule of thumb is one pound per person, but if you want leftovers (and who doesn’t?) or have big eaters in your family, plan for 1.5 pounds per person.

Since many grocery stores have low prices on turkeys, consider buying a second one to put in your freezer if you have room. You might need to make two trips since the cheapest turkeys often have limits of one or two per customer.

In 2020, according to the USDA, turkey supplies are steady. Compared with last years, turkey prices have increased slightly at some retailers.

Still, many grocers will sell turkeys as a loss-leader item in the hopes that once you’re in the store you’ll make other purchases. In fact, some stores require you to make additional purchases of $20 to $50 in order to pay their lowest price per pound for turkey.

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Make sure you’re not overpaying for the additional purchase items as it may just be cheaper to pay “full price” for the turkey. Here are some more tips on how to maximize your savings while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.

Although turkey is probably the big-ticket item on the menu this year, remember that you can save money on Thanksgiving dinner with some of these great frugal ideas. 

Free turkeys for Thanksgiving

Certain grocery chains offer free turkey promotions leading up to Thanksgiving. These tend to be aimed at members of the supermarket’s discount shoppers club, and are based on total purchases throughout October and November. Look for promotion announcements in early October, so you can plan ahead.

Here are the free turkey deals we’ve seen in 2020:

Shoprite

Price Plus club members can earn points toward a free or discounted turkey, beginning in October. Once you’ve racked up the appropriate number of points (varies by location), you can claim a free turkey, ham, turkey breast, kosher chicken, lasagna, or tofurkey. If you prefer another brand, you can choose instead to receive the same savings per pound on any other whole turkey, turkey breast, or ham.

Giant Food Stores

Giant shoppers can get a free Giant brand turkey or $1 per pound off any other turkey brand, fresh or frozen, when they earn 400 CHOICE points between October 16 and November 26, 2020. Restrictions apply.

Walmart

Walmart has partnered with Ibotta, a cash-back grocery shopping app, to offer 100 percent cash back (i.e., it’s ultimately free) on a Butterball turkey breast roast valued at $9.98 during the month of November 2020. Offer is valid while supplies last.

Where to buy the cheapest turkeys

When you’re searching for the best turkey prices, realize that buying a frozen turkey in advance is almost always going to be your best bet. If you’ve cut it too close to Thanksgiving, you’re going to have to spring for a fresh turkey. 

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How long should you thaw a frozen turkey? Figure one day for every 5 pounds, so four days for a 20 pound bird. Always thaw your frozen turkey in the refrigerator, never on the counter.

Looking for turkeys on sale in 2020? Below is a sampling of turkey prices at various grocery stores this year. Use this list as a guide for finding the cheapest place to buy a turkey. We will update the list as supermarkets update their Thanksgiving deals.

Many chains offer different prices for different regions, and these prices were gathered mostly in the Northern Virginia, where popular national chains like Kroger, Publix and Ralphs don’t have storefronts.

Always check your local circulars or store websites for accurate turkey pricing in your area, or check your local Living on the Cheap network sites for turkey deals in your home area.

The best turkey prices may vary by location and by week. All prices are for frozen turkeys unless indicated as fresh. Some offers may require an additional purchase or membership in the supermarket’s free discount shoppers program in order to access the lowest price per pound.

Aldi

Butterball 87 cents per pound. Limit 2. Honeysuckle White fresh turkey $1.39 per pound. Simply Nature fresh organic turkey $2.99 per pound. (Both with limited availability.) Kirkwood frozen turkey breast $1.39 per pound.

A fully cooked smoked Butterball turkey (also frozen) costs $1.99 per pound. Aldi also has deals on your Thanksgiving cooking needs, such as turkey roasting racks and electric turkey fryers.

Giant

Giant brand turkey 39 cents per pound (with a $25 purchase, excluding turkey price). Limit 2.  Butterball 99 cents per pound; fresh $1.69 per pound. Nature’s Promise fresh turkey 99 cents per pound; organic $3.99 per pound. ; breast 99 cents per pound. Giant will match competitors’ prices.

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter brand fresh turkey 99 cents per pound. Limit 1.

Peapod

Affiliated with Giant in northern Virginia. Nature’s Promise fresh turkey 99 cents per pound. Giant brand $1.49 per pound. Butterball hormone-free turkey $99 cents per pound; fresh $1.69 per pound; little turkey $1.99 per pound. Giant whole turkey breast $1.49 per pound; fresh $2.99 per pound. (You’ll save money if you can shop in store.) Google for a new customer promo code.

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Safeway

Signature Farms turkey 36 cents per pound; fresh $1.39 per pound. Limit 1. Butterball 99 cents per pound; limit 1. 

Target

Butterball turkey 99 cents per pound. Goods & Gather 79 cents per pound; breast 79 cents per pound.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s brand brined fresh turkeys $1.99 per pound; organic fresh turkeys $3.49 per pound. Glatt kosher fresh turkeys $2.99 per pound.

Walmart

Honeysuckle White turkey 68 cents per pound; fresh $1.58 per pound; little turkey $1.88 per pound. Honeysuckle White turkey breast $1.68 per pound; fresh $2.08 per pound. Butterball 98 cents per pound; fresh turkey breast $2.28 per pound.

Wegmans

Wegmans brand fresh turkey 99 cents per pound; antibiotic-free fresh turkey $2.59 per pound; organic fresh turkey $4.59 per pound. Wegmans brand fresh turkey breast $2.99 per pound; organic fresh turkey breast $5.99 per pound. Shady Brook 36 cents per pound; limit 1 with minimum $25 purchase. Shady Brook frozen turkey breast $2.49 per pound. Butterball $1.39 per pound. Honeysuckle White $1.89 per pound. Empire Kosher turkey $3.79 per pound. Fresh turkeys arrive mid-November. Thanksgiving recipes are offered online.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods brand turkey $1.99 per pound; organic $2.99 per pound.

If you’re looking for the best prices on turkey, you might also like to read:

More Thanksgiving articles we recommend:

Fun things to do on Black Friday (that aren’t shopping)
What to do with leftover Thanksgiving side dishes
Ways to use leftover turkey
23 delicious uses for Thanksgiving leftovers
18 frugal Thanksgiving leftover recipes

Day after Thanksgiving favorites: 

How to skip Black Friday madness and still get the deals
The smart shopper’s guide to Black Friday
Best shopping apps for Black Friday 2020
8 ways to survive (and even enjoy) shopping Black Friday
Best Instant Pot deal and more Black Friday deals

More Ways to Live Well for Less

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