An Executive Decision: $1 Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge


Because I simply am a glutton for punishment, I decided that I would make both pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes as part of the $1 Thanksgiving Dinner challenge. With the $10 Visa card I got for free in my back pocket, I went to pick up the last of the things I needed to create my Thanksgiving meal.

After my trash can experience getting Catalina coupons, there were a lot of readers that suggested that I check out the trash cans at the end of the self serve check out lines, so I decided to do just that. It was well worth the effort. The cans at the end of the self serve check out lines were overflowing with Catalina coupons and with the store being so busy the day before Thanksgiving, nobody cared that I was in them grabbing all that had been thrown away. Among all the coupons were two $3.00 off your next purchase Catalinas (one from Betty Crocker and one from California Pizza Kitchen) and I will now make these trash cans my first stop at every grocery store.

It was at this point that I made an executive decision that may make me lose this bet. The two Catalina coupons meant that I could get the basics I needed for mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie without touching the $10 Visa card, but I wouldn’t be able to get all the ingredients I needed. Those ingredients I would still need, however, were readily available at the house. I had salt, pepper and brown sugar left over from my Eating Well on $1 a Day challenge and it seemed ridiculous to buy them again. So instead of using the Visa card toward my $1 Thanksgiving Dinner challenge, I have decided to use it toward buying food for the local food bank. I know that I could have purchased these things, but simply chose not to since it seemed like a waste and the money could be better used to help others. If that means I ultimately fail, so be it…

What I did pick up was a 5 lb bag of potatoes, Libby’s canned pumpkin and carnation evaporated milk at the cost of $0.77:

potatoes and pumpkin

potatoes receipt

That means that I ended up spending $0.77 for the following:

14 lb turkey
2 boxes stuffing
1 gravy packet
5 lbs potatoes
2 biscuits cans (and 168 more cans donated to local food banks)
2 cans cranberry Sauce
2 cans green beans
1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 package butter
4 cans chicken stock
2 boxes hot chocolate (and 31 more boxes donated to local food banks)
1 gallon milk
1 dozen eggs
half gallon ice cream
2 five pound boxes clementine oranges

And now the actual cooking begins. Wish me luck…

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8 Responses to An Executive Decision: $1 Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge

  1. Julie says:

    Good luck! I’m still amazed you managed to get all this stuff for essentially no money. Much, much different than the experiences of another dollar-a-day challenge I read about: http://www.dollaradaybook.com/blog

    (Scan all the way back to the very first blog posts in September 2008 for their experiences in the challenge. Long story short: they were eating beans and home-made tortillas most days, were almost constantly hungry, and lost significant amounts of weight in a month, and not in the good way, either.)

  2. Rosa says:

    You’re like a coupon superhero! I hope your meal went well and that you had a happy thanksgiving!

  3. Liz says:

    Good luck with all the cooking, I am sure you will do just fine. In my experience it isn’t so much the cooking that is difficult, it’s just all so time consuming.

    I hope that your sister will see the sense in your choice to use the items you have at home already. We can all see that you could have easily bought the rest of the needed items, but in reality they probably would have just gone to waste since you have said before that you don’t do much cooking normally. You shouldn’t be forced to buy them just to prove a point to her.

  4. Susan says:

    I’m sure however your cooking efforts came out, your shopping savvy won kudos from everyone! Besides, even if something didn’t turn out quite right, it will become a source of humorous stories to dine on for years to come.

  5. sara says:

    Are you ready to tackle the X-mas dinner now!? :O

  6. Shans3boys says:

    You’re always a winner, no matter what sis says.

    You have blessed us all with your couponing wisdom! Hope it was a great Thanksgiving with your family!

  7. Colleen says:

    I agree with you and in my book you are a winner!

  8. boliyou says:

    Congratulations on your success in the challenge. Based on your other posts, it looks like your Thanksgiving was a good one. Great work!

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