Food & Drink

Keep Thanksgiving affordable

Thanksgiving is a big meal, but that doesn't mean it has to have a big price tag.

Throughout the season, supermarkets offer some of their most competitive prices. With smart shopping and cooking strategies, you can host Thanksgiving dinner without emptying your wallet.

The main course can be the best value. Many grocers offer turkeys as a loss leader – meaning they sell it at a loss, planning to make it up in sales of other foods – with prices under $1 a pound.

Avoid deals where you have to spend a certain amount of money to get the sale price. This can lead you to buy items you could get cheaper elsewhere.

Another nice thing about the turkey is that it almost always makes multiple meals. Besides the leftover meat, the bones and skin can be used for soups and stews.

Buying whole poultry is almost always cheaper than prepared cuts. Since you'll be roasting a whole turkey anyway, consider buying one that is larger than needed. The excess can be frozen for later.

Of course, much of the Thanksgiving meal is made up of sides, sauces and desserts, and the cost can add up.

One option is to make your meal potluck. Most guests are more than happy to bring a favorite side dish.

If you are preparing several sides yourself, consider using frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables usually are picked at peak ripeness and can cost as much as 40 percent less.