The Cost of Thanksgiving

Pre-made vs Homemade Turkey Dinners

Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away, and Fab & Fru has heard through the grapevine that you are thinking about ordering a pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner this year – rather than make it yourself.  Is it true? Don’t worry – you’re not alone!  In fact, so many of our friends have started to order in Thanksgiving dinner it’s becoming almost as American as, well, a store bought apple pie!  So we’ve been wondering: what are the costs of ordering in Thanksgiving & is the time savings worth the extra expense?

The Thanksgiving Experience

Whether you grew up on a farm in Iowa or an apartment on Park avenue, chances are Thanksgiving in your family has had a common connection: recipes passed down through the generations and memories of home cooked meals – complete with various family members berating each other, drunk tirades and last minute kitchen disasters thrown in for good measure. The point is, no matter what your background, we all seem to have a collective American memory of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be like.

Thanksgiving to Go!

However, for those of us city dwellers with busy schedules and smaller kitchens, grocery stores (both cheap & fancy) around the country now offer pre-made Thanksgiving dinners!  From Wal-Mart to Whole Foods, families can get a turkey with all the trimmings ready to gobble with little fuss and in no time at all!  But could these easy breezy holiday feasts possibly be cost-effective? And even if you can afford any extra expenses, does it diminish the holiday experience?

A Matter of Taste!

Of course grocery costs vary widely depending on where you live, where you shop, what kind of turkey you want to buy, etc.  I live in Los Angeles and I prefer to eat organic, so obviously my ingredient list is already on the pricier side to start.   But remember – just because you like to eat organic – doesn’t mean you are not both Fab… & Fru!  Everyone wants to save money – even gourmets!

Organic Thanksgiving: Pre-made vs Homemade!

My local Whole Foods is offering a precooked, ORGANIC Thanksgiving dinner for 6-8 for $139.99.  For that price you get a 10-12 pound turkey, 4 pounds of stuffing, 4 pounds of mashed potatoes, 2 pounds of green beans with shallots, 1 pint of cranberry sauce, 12 rolls and maple herb butter. No pie included here, but they do give you a coupon for $10 OFF a large pie.

Ok, so let’s see what it would cost for me to do the Organic dinner myself! For me to go to Whole Foods and buy an organic, fresh turkey it is $3.99 a pound -  actually a fairly good price for organic turkey.  Assuming I buy a 12 pound turkey, that’s $48 for the bird, call it $50 even to include the butter and celery, carrots and onion I’ll stick inside.

Organic green beans are $2.99 pound, so 4 pounds = $12 bucks of beans. Organic russet potatoes are $1.69/ pound so about $7 for potatoes, call it 8 including butter, salt and pepper! If you’re keeping track, our home cooked organic meal is up to $70 so far. Stuffing, I have to admit I don’t make from scratch but I can buy the Organic bagged stuff at Whole foods for 2.99 per bag – since I love stuffing let’s say I buy 2 bags – so $6 on the stuffing.  $76 so far.  Add a couple bucks for a bag of cranberries (SO easy to make your own sauce, just add water and sugar & heat on the stove) and a couple more for dinner rolls…and your dinner is coming in right around $80.  We’ll throw another $10 bucks on to cover the cost of pie and seasonings — so let’s call it a D.I.Y. Organic Thanksgiving for… $90! Sounds a lot better than $140 to me….

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2 Responses to “The Cost of Thanksgiving”

  1. Carol says:

    I still love the smell of turkey cooking, but I plan on buying some sides.

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