On Thanksgiving day, I won’t be partaking in the turkey eating because I’m a Vegetarian/Pepperotarian (a Pepperotarian is someone who avoids all meats except for pepperoni on pizza. The Pepperotarian is a not so distant cousin of the Baconotarian. Basically, I’m a super shitty Vegetarian), but for the large majority of people, a Thanksgiving turkey is the centerpiece the holiday dinner. Turkeys are typically sold by the pound so if you have a big family to feed, the turkey cost can be on the high side. For people who are in dire financial straits, there are ways to get access to a free turkey and other meal staples through local food banks and churches. For people who want to be frugal, there are other ways to score a free turkey without taking anything away from those who are financially disadvantaged.
Here are 5 ways to get your Thanksgiving turkey for free…
1. Accept Your Boss’s Generosity
There are many employers that give away free turkeys around the holiday to their employees. This turkey may be in lieu of a more-preferred holiday cash bonus but it’s still a free turkey. If you can’t use this gift for yourself during the holidays, donate it to someone you know who could use it. You can also stick it in the freezer for Christmas dinner or save it for a nice meal during the winter months.
2. Scan In-Store Promotions
Grocery stores often run promotions that involve free turkeys. Typically they will require that you spend a certain amount of cash during a period of time to receive a free turkey. If you have to sign up for their membership rewards program, do it. You could get on-going opportunities to score free or considerably cheaper groceries throughout the year and save a lot more during the holidays. ShopRite is just one of the grocery stores that offer free turkeys to their club members. Acme also offers a free turkey through advertised coupon promotion leading up to the holidays, and when I was researching for this post I came across the below ad for Alberton’s. If you spend over $100 you can get a free turkey. I’d gather up a free friends, and combine our weekly grocery shopping to get over the $100 limit.
3. Observe Business Marketing Tactics
Keep tabs on the local newspaper advertisements or radio commercials for local businesses promoting a free turkey just for stopping by. Local car dealers may trade you a turkey for a test drive. You might be able to take home a free bird for something as simple as listening to a sales pitch from a window installation company.
4. Be Competitive
Many contests are held during the holiday season from businesses, non-profits, and community groups that advertise turkeys as part of their prize giveaways. Fundraising efforts are in full swing to help the less fortunate and prize turkeys are often up for grabs. Read newspaper articles, keep tabs on Facebook pages, and listen to the word of mouth advertising from family and friends to find opportunities to win. You may have to spend a dollar or two for your chance to win and there are no guarantees but you get to help those in need regardless of whether you win or not.
5. Barter for Your Food
If you have access to a local farm, find out if there’s something you can do for the farmer to score yourself a free turkey. It can be a great family project on a Saturday afternoon to help out on the local farm in exchange for a free Thanksgiving turkey. The barter system is still an excellent way to live frugally but effectively. There may also be volunteer opportunities in the city such as putting in a few hours at a soup kitchen in exchange for a free turkey from local churches or community groups.
Do you know of other ways to get a free turkey or to reduce the cost of buying one?
P.S. Have you read 33 Fun, Frugal Fall Activities yet?