Comparison shopping: Where can you buy the cheapest Thanksgiving dinner?

NOW: Getting more bang for your buck this Thanksgiving

(NEWS CENTER) — Snap your fingers and relatives will be ringing your doorbell, pies will be cooling and the smell of a stuffed bird will be wafting in the air.

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a lot of work: the cleaning, the grocery shopping, and, of course, the cooking. 

The average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey. 

We wondered which Maine grocery store would give shoppers the most bang for their buck for the big day. So we hit Hannaford, Shaw's, Market Basket and Walmart, buying six basic Thanksgiving items to feed 8 to 10 people.

What we found might surprise you.

THE LIST: 

  • Butterball brand frozen turkey around 16 lbs
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes 
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 3 boxes of Stove Top Turkey stuffing 
  • 2 cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce 
  • 1 pumpkin pie from the grocery store bakery

THE RESULTS:

  Turkey Green Beans Potatoes Stuffing Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Pie TOTAL
Market Basket $27.21 $2.04 $1.99 $4.50 $2.38 $4.49 $42.97
Shaw's $20.59 $2.65 $3.49 $5.01 $3.00 $3.88 $38.83
Hannaford $20.69 $2.89 $2.99 $3.75 $2.38 $4.99 $37.97
Walmart $14.81 $3.07 $2.77 $4.14 $2.76 $2.97 $30.69

Market Basket was the most expensive as of November 17, even though three of the items; green beans, potatoes and cranberry sauce, were cheapest there.

The tipping point was the Butterball Turkey, which was on sale at all the other stores but Market Basket, making it the $7 to $12 more than it's comparison. 

Shaw's and Hannaford were less than a dollar difference in total price, while Walmart's total cost was almost 20 percent less than it's closest competitor. 

However as we spoke to shoppers, we realized that price is NOT the bottom line for all people.

Andrea Gleason of South Portland has invited 20 friends and family members over to her house for the big feast. 

She says even if turkey is cheaper elsewhere, she is loyal to Shaw's because that is where she shops. Gleason says knowing the layout of a store saves her time which is a big deal. 

"I would be interested (to know which store is cheapest) but I don't know if it would change my habits completely." 

 So whether you are hosting the big day at your house surrounded by dozens of friends and family or are just settling down for a quite dinner for two, be sure to shop the sales if you want to save a few bucks, but most importantly, don't let the stress of comparison shopping take away from having a great holiday. 

From all of us at NEWS CENTER, Happy Thanksgiving. 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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