Although turkey might be the time-honored centerpiece of most Thanksgiving Day meals, it sure isn’t cheap.
The average turkey cost at roughly $1.30 per pound last year, which came out to $20.80 for a 16-pound bird, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey.
And that’s just one element of your Thanksgiving dinner.
How to Get a Free Turkey This Year
To help offset this major holiday cost — and to bring more hungry holiday shoppers into their stores — many grocery chains run specials that allow rewards program members to get a free turkey (or other holiday centerpiece).
It’s not worth it to buy $100 of random items just to score a bird you could get for $20. But if you’re going to spend that money anyway, why not get the turkey on the house?
One word of warning: All of these offers vary by store, so you’ll want to call ahead to make sure your favorite location is participating.
Here’s where to get a free turkey this year.
Free turkey certificates can be redeemed from Nov. 13 through Nov. 26.
Earn points on purchases through Nov. 26 — Thanksgiving Day — with your (free!) Price Plus club card.
Once you spend a certain amount (check your local store’s circular for the amount), present your Price Plus club card to the cashier to receive a free turkey, ham, turkey breast, kosher chicken, lasagna or tofurky.
You can pick up your free item any day up to and including Thanksgiving Day. (Note that the turkey is frozen, so you’ll want to pick it up well ahead of time if you plan to make it for the big meal!)
3. Weis Market
If you’re part of Weis’s rewards program, your reward points could get you a Thanksgiving turkey for free.
It’s pretty simple: You earn one point for every dollar you spend, and it takes 400 points to receive a free turkey, tofurky, ham or lasagna.
That might seem like a lot — and it is! — but it includes purchases from Nov. 5 through Nov. 26. If you spend $50 per week on groceries and have been shopping at Weis each week since then, you’ll be more than covered by Thanksgiving.
It’s important to note that your points do have an expiration date, which is printed on the bottom of your receipts.
Free Thanksgiving Turkey and Meals for Families in Need
If you simply can’t afford to spend the money to get a free turkey from the grocery stores above, you can look to your community for help.
Food banks are hard at work hosting turkey drives and fundraising events to help put Thanksgiving meals on the tables of those in need. Food bank turkey distributions are usually held during the weekend before and days leading up to Thanksgiving. You can search by state or ZIP code for your local food bank.
United Way chapters also host turkey drives to help families in need. You can search for your local United Way chapter.
Churches and Charities
Local churches and charities have also been collecting donated items to provide low-income families in their communities with Thanksgiving meals. Check with your church or local charities if you need help providing your family with a Thanksgiving meal.
Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed to this post.