The holidays are a time for friends and families to share meals and spend some time together. All that bonding can really build up an appetite — and your grocery bill.
Family gatherings can be stressful even if you don’t have to plan for, purchase and cook a big holiday meal. On average, American families spend more than $50 on a single Thanksgiving meal for 10, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual informal price survey. That’s more than twice as much as they spent in 1987.
Oh, plus the cost of turkey is up, and the canned pumpkin supply is short — two facts that could put additional stress on this year’s food budgets.
Luckily, holiday hosts have cost-saving options if they visit the right stores. Here are some of the best holiday dinner deals that won’t land you in the poorhouse.
Grocery items account for 56 percent of Walmart’s sales, so it’s not surprising that the superstore consistently runs discounts on many items — including holiday dinner ingredients.
Right now, you can get 50 cents off a Hungry Jack Mashed Potato product of any size. Walmart also price matches competitors — even online stores — so if you find a great holiday dinner deal somewhere else, you can ask for the same price.
Not every Walmart store honors in-store price matching, though. In fact, the company recently cancelled in-store matching for 800 stores. So, you should ask the manager of your local store before you spend time comparison shopping.
Target is another large retailer that has jumped into the grocery game. The prices aren’t as low as Walmart or Aldi, but the store often runs deals on popular holiday meal items, such as turkey, stuffing, potatoes and canned goods.
Coupon expert and author Jill Nystul uses Target Cartwheel digital coupons and gift card promos to score ultra-low prices on groceries — she purchased an entire Thanksgiving dinner for six to eight people for $24.32.
Right now, if you choose the home delivery option for a Target online purchase, you can get a $5 to $200 gift card back, depending on what you buy. There are also coupons for $4 off Seattle’s Best Coffee, $2 off Stouffer’s Slow Cooker Starters, $1 off Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese and $1.50 off Knudsen Sour Cream or Cottage Cheese.
Aldi’s prices are low enough to rival even consumer-favorite Trader Joe’s as one of the best cheap grocery stores. The retailer keeps costs down by offering mostly generic, in-house brands and limited sizes and varieties.
Recently, Aldi featured holiday meal deals such as Appleton Farms Ham for 89 cents a pound, smoked turkey for $1.99 a pound, russet potatoes for 15 cents a pound, Brussels sprouts for $1.29 a pound and yellow onions for 69 cents a pound. Aldi can also be a source of hard-to-find items, as the holiday season heats up.
“There’s a national canned pumpkin shortage right now, so I went to Albertsons to stock up, but they were out of small cans,” said San Diego food blogger Michelle Sybert. “Aldi had them for under a dollar — just 89 cents per can.”
Sprouts Farmers Market is one of the cheapest national grocery chains — especially for produce and meat. You won’t find many name-brand items, but there are often great deals on bulk-bin products, such as spices, nuts, dried fruits and grains.
Customers love to shop there on “Double Ad Wednesday” because sale prices for both the current week and previous week are still valid.
Recent deals include house-made sausage for $2.99 a pound, grass-fed beef for $5 a pound and thick-cut bacon and seafood at low prices.
5. Trader Joe’s
You’re not going to find whole turkeys, but if you love pumpkin-flavored foods during the holidays, Trader Joe’s is the place to be. The retailer offers a 30-ounce pumpkin cheesecake for $6.99, a gluten-free pumpkin bread mix for $3.99 and low prices on whole pumpkins.
Money-saving expert Kate Hamernik gets whole pumpkins at her local Trader Joe’s and makes her own pumpkin pie mix.
“I bought several pumpkins at Trader Joe’s just last week for about $3 a piece,” she said. “I put it in the crock pot and use it in all kinds of recipes — it’s so much cheaper than canned pumpkin.”
WinCo is another small grocer that’s giving the big guys a run for their money. In fact, a Time Money article listed it as one of America’s cheapest supermarkets in the West.
Last holiday season, the company promised to beat any nearby competitor’s price on Thanksgiving turkeys — as long as minimum purchase requirements were met.
The store isn’t running any holiday meal savings online yet, but you can still score deals early, such as $1 off Hormel bacon toppings and $1 off Pepto-Bismol, for the holiday dinner recovery. WinCo also takes manufacturer coupons, and you can combine those with sales and rebate app promos, like those from Ibotta, for even more savings this holiday season.
7. Boston Market
Boston Market is known for its home-style cooking, so it’s a popular place for holiday fare.
This year, for $13.49 a person, you can get the Boston Market Premium Buffet, which comes with an entrée of your choice, three sides, cornbread, cranberry walnut relish and an assortment of pies to make your holiday dinner complete. There is also a Deluxe Buffet option for $11.49 per person, which comes with an entrée, two sides, cornbread and pies. You can even create your own buffet starting at $10.29 a person.
There is a 10-person minimum to order — and the food comes cold — so give yourself extra time to heat things up at home.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.