Lower Thanksgiving meal costs by going frozen and canned for most things

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Thanksgiving is Thursday. The average family will spend about $50 on their meal this year.

There are ways to save on that bill without giving up the flavor or your favorite dishes.

The turkey itself will be the most expensive part of the meal.  Our experts say you’ll pay less for a frozen turkey than a fresh one.

Certified Executive Chef Keith Gardiner picked up a frozen turkey and described it.  “That’s a 12-pound bird. $20 – for most families that’s going to be enough.”

His advice was to make sure you allow plenty of time for it to thaw out, then roast it in the oven instead of frying it.

That way you’ll save you up to $30, the cost of the oil it takes to fry just one bird.

For the stuffing, consider pre-seasoned and packaged stuffing mix to save you time and money on seasonings that could cost several dollars each.

For the gravy, the chefs say do it yourself to preserve the flavor, although a packet of mix only costs $1.

For the sides, you can save by using canned ingredients instead of fresh, if you’re okay with that.

For example: sweet potato casserole.  Our experts say whip it up using canned sweet potatoes.  They are cheaper than fresh.

If not, top it off with marshmallows instead of pecans.

Pecans are running about $4.50 for a fairly small bag.

For that matter, if you want pecan pie, our experts recommend you buy it already made.  You’ll likely save about $5.

Go ahead and make your cranberry sauce from scratch using fresh berries.  You’ll save about a dollar if you use canned cranberries, but the taste of fresh berries may be worth that dollar.

Of course, for many, time is money.  If you want to save money by saving time, check out your favorite grocery store, Cracker Barrel restaurant or Honey Baked Ham in Huntsville for complete ready-to-eat meals.

You’ll pay for the convenience, but it will save you lots of time.