Monday, November 24, 2008

How I plan to feed 40 people for Thanksgiving without going over my $60/week grocery budget

First of all, we can't fit 40 people in our home at once! Our family and a few friends will gather for a "progressive Thanksgiving" on Thursday (Appetizers at my sister's, main meal at my house, and dessert at my mom's). On Friday we've invited several international students, plus some friends and co-workers without family in the area for "Second Thanksgiving". Each meal will number somewhere around twenty people.

Trick #1: I'm not providing all of the food. On Thursday, my mom is providing the turkey and all of the desserts and my sister is making a casserole. That leaves me with a couple of easy contributions: a corn casserole and rolls plus the 
sweet potatoes for sweet potato casserole. Since my husband specifically requested Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (homemade would be cheaper!), my contributions for this meal total about $11.

On Friday I am doing much of the cooking, but I delegated the mashed potatoes and the sweet potato casserole to friends. That leaves me with the turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, corn and 
green bean casseroles, cranberry sauce, pumpkin dessert, apple pie, and cool whip. We'll be drinking water and coffee.

Trick #2: I'm not buying all of the ingredients for that meal this week - I have some of them on hand already. When turkeys first went on sale at Safeway, I bought a 20 pounder out of that week's grocery budget. I also have cranberry sauce, pumpkin, apples, and canned vegetables on hand from sales in previous weeks. That leaves me with less to buy this week - and the hope of actually staying in my budget!

Trick #3: I'm making things from scratch where I can. Although we are giving in to the Pillsbury crescent rolls, I do plan to make my gravy and desserts (including 
pie crusts) from scratch. Besides just tasting better, I figure that I'm saving around $10 (vs canned gravy and pre-made desserts) for my effort.

Trick #4: We're eating from our stockpile the 
rest of the week. Our other meals this week will not be fancy recipes that require extra ingredients. I have plenty of chicken and ground beef in my freezer from previous sales, plus beans, rice, pasta and frozen veggies. Our menu for the week will likely include quesadillas, chili, Italian chicken pasta, meatballs and rice, and leftovers.

So what do I have left to buy this week? Here's the list with estimated prices:
Crescent Rolls: $7.50
Cake mix: $0.79
Stuffing: $4.50
Cream-style corn: $1.50
Corn muffin mix: $1.50
Sour cream: $2
Evaporated milk: $2
Creamed soups: $1.50
French-style grean beans: $0.80
French-fried onions: $3
Cool Whip: $3

For an estimated total of $28.09! That leaves me plenty of room to stock up on a couple of other great deals and necessities:
Clementines: $4.99
Broccoli: $0.98
Cheese: $5.99
Milk: $4.98
Eggs: $1.50
Salt: $0.50
Juice: $3
Bananas: $2
Spinach: $1.50

For a total of $25.44. After adding that to my list of Thanksgiving meal supplies, my total comes out to $53.53. Hmmm . . . maybe I should buy one more $4.99 turkey for the freezer while they're still on sale!

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bonavita said...

It is amazing to me that with all the homemade bread around our hours those Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are always a favorite here,as well! It must be they are like "forbidden fruit". . . I did find several on-line coupons for the crescent rolls last week. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Tammy W said...

Great job and great planning!

Suz said...

Great job! It certainly pays to think ahead and not be afraid to ask for a little help.

Hope you have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

..and we're off! said...

You go girl! We didn't know we were hosting Thanksgiving until a few weeks ago and then I left for a week so our meal was all bought in one trip. Glad I'm only feeding 5!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ann Kroeker said...

What's in those Pillsbury cans?

My kids love 'em too and ask for them as we pass them in the refrigerated section.

I did talk my daughter into helping me make rolls. We don't do it enough to know if they'll turn out. We shall see.

But you've really done a great job sharing the cost. We got a turkey on sale, too, and we also do a pitch-in style Thanksgiving.

I actually think it's more fun as well as economical.

Have a wonderful time--and thanks for inspiring frugality!

Karen said...

Awesome job! It takes time to figure this all out but worth it in the end. Hope you had a great thanksgiving!

PS I am married to a personable chemical engineer too! LOL