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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I "bought" my Thanksgiving turkey, and yes, it was free!

Yesterday morning, I got myself pulled together early, printed out my shopping list, and headed to Fred Meyer. The store was surprisingly uncrowded, perhaps because this was a second bonus Senior Shopping Discount Day. And to be honest, I, myself, was beginning to tire of getting up and out early on Tuesdays to snag whatever discounts there were for the previous two Senior Shopping Discount Days. 

You see, I share a car with my two adult daughters. They are both working and use my car to get to and from work as substitute teachers. Taking a city bus is not always convenient for their sub jobs, and in some cases, not even possible (as the buses don't even come close to a few of the schools where they can sub). On occasion, they find sub jobs at the same school or at a neighboring school. Other times, one will sub at one of two neighborhood schools that are within walking distance. And still other times, one will drop the other off at a school then travel on to their own school for subbing. Then there are the occasions where both of them find sub jobs along a city bus line. 

Most days, I don't have a car between 8 AM and 4 PM. On those days, I try to get up and out early if I have errands, so I can bring the car back for them before 8. That usually means that I leave the house early enough to be standing there at the store's doors before official opening. Our Fred Meyer tends to open a few minutes before 7 AM, even though 7 is the official opening time. If I have a list with me, I can get in and out of the store in about 45 minutes or less, leaving me just enough time to pull into our driveway for my daughters to help me unload the trunk, so they can take the car for work. Sometime in this next year, my daughters will either each buy their own car or will buy one car to share.

Anyways, back to getting my turkey. I had my list finalized and ready to print. Too early for me to even think clearly, I dressed as quickly as I could, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and grabbed what I needed for shopping. This was no time for silly things, like you know, eating breakfast. I made a cup of coffee to go and booked it out the door. Everything went as planned. Absolutely everything on my list was available. How often does that happen? Not often for me. As planned, I bought very little food. Instead, I bought mostly consumable, non-food items, such as LED lightbulbs (including some of those pricer indoor floodlight-style can lights), copy paper, OTC meds and supplements, dish detergent, carpet cleaner, and hair color. I also bought 2 gifts and about $16 in food. 

Absolutely everything that I bought either received a discount, was on sale, or both. In most cases, I bought a 6-month to 1-year supply of items. I spent $165, not including tax. On one of the gifts, if I find that item for less in the next 30 days, I will return this one to Fred Meyer and keep my free turkey, as I will still be beneath the $150 spending threshold.

I know that I've mentioned this before, the free turkey deal is one of the few "free major food item with a minimum purchase" deals available during the year. The stores near me never have similar promotions at Christmas or Easter. This is just a Thanksgiving deal. So, I work my long and short-range plans to take advantage of the deal without overspending to get there.

Since I can use non-food items to make the needed minimum purchase, it makes sense to allow our stock of non-food consumable items to be depleted during the late summer through fall months so that I can then restock during this free-turkey promotion.

One 21-pound turkey later, and I'm a pretty happy woman. In November's budget, I had allocated $12 to $14 for a turkey. Since the turkey was free, I put an additional $6 toward sparkling cider, which gives us enough sparkling cider now for Christmas, New Years, and Easter. That leaves me with $6 to $8 in surplus for the month's groceries, which I can "invest" in additional sale items as I see them.

You already know this -- these "deals" are only a deal if you don't overspend in order to meet the requirements. Stores wouldn't make these offers if enough people didn't do just that, go wild in their spending just to get that free item. Thanks to all of you who helped me stay on track with this!


  1. Enjoy your turkey. When my older son was living at home, we shared a car for a while. Coordinating between our work schedules took some work. I can only imagine what it is like trying to coordinate among three schedules. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

  2. Good deal on the turkey! My church has a turkey dinner in Spring every year, I use my points from a local store to purchase the turkeys for that (usually 4 or 5). Seems like your household is very busy in the mornings, my daughter is attending college, majoring in secondary and middle level math education.

    Have a great day - Shelby

  3. It seems your girls are very close. From your family photo, it appears they are identical. I have an identical twin sister, too, but we are not close at all. Mostly it is for self-preservation and my own mental health that I rarely see her! I bought my turkey at Aldi, a Butterball for 87 cents/lb. 20 pounds. Now I am planning all the sides.

    Midwest Girl

  4. Sounds like you worked the deal well! Congrats! I have a turkey left from a sale after Thanksgiving last year and planned to use it. But for various reasons, hubby is encouraging me to go back and finish my hike next week, so I'm not cooking Thanksgiving Dinner after all! My family will eat with friends and I'll fix the turkey in a few weeks. My oldest two daughters, 15 and 19, are going to make some dishes to take to the home of the friends my family is eating with. I will have a freeze dried dinner of some sort on the trail.

  5. Hi.

    We know all about car sharing! Our three kids shared one car in high school and then again in college but we added a second car for them to share sometime during the college years. That ended this July. The car we purchased first also lasted the longest and that was a used car when we bought it in 2003 and lasted until July 2019. The "second" car mentioned above was sold one year ago when our son bought his new-to-him car. We never expected that first car to last so long and it was a blessing that it did.

    Some kids all have their own cars in high school but our kids wanted to go to college instead so they did not buy cars. It still amazes me that they shared cars for so long.


  6. Hooray for you! Apparently there were no weight restrictions on the turkey?

    This year our Meijer grocery store is offering a 33 cent/pound turkey sale, limit one per person. I'm not sure we've had such a good sale for a long time.

  7. Great job! And I know you'll get every bit of goodness out of that turkey. I got one for free at WinCo. In the past, the $100 limit could include the price of the turkey, but not this year. That's o.k. I needed the 25 lb bags of unbleached flour, sugar, rolled oats & a number of things from the bulk bins. My 14 year old daughter has taken to having afternoon tea every day, so I'm keeping her in Earl Grey from the bulk section. I also bought about 7 lbs. of white popcorn kernels. I had heard at the end of summer that the price of popcorn would be going up dramatically due to crop failures, so I've been buying a big bag every time I get to WinCo (about once a month). Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Lili! Blessings to you & your family.

  8. We got a free 14,5 lb turkey last week, redeeming a voucher that's issued after $250 spend. Because we hardly shop at this store, it takes a year to accumulate this amount of spend. So far, this promotion has been offered every Thanksgiving so I shop carefully throughout the year usually when there is a good sale. Many shoppers don't usually shop this way, only for sales. In fact our nearby small grocery store cashier once commented "everything was on sale" as she checked me out. I dont know whether she meant, how dare, or how smart.

    You did very well in the time allotted. That takes quite a bit of planning, even studying the floor plan of the store. The good thing is probably the store was empty and easier to move about.

    I was a stubble back in my 30s. My favorite grade was 5th graders because they knew what they were supposed to do. I was not cut out to be a kindergarten teacher for sure.

    Have a great day,


  9. Hi Live and Learn,
    that's exactly it -- you've got to do what you've got to do. We're managing. Years from now we'll wonder how we ever did manage.

  10. Hi Shelby,
    that's such a good use of your store points, buying those turkeys for your church's dinner. I'm sure they're very appreciated.
    Have a lovely evening.

  11. Hi Midwest Girl,
    Your price on the butterball sounds like a very good one, given its brand. I'm now putting together my list for sides as well.
    My daughters are identical twins and are pretty close. I'm thankful for their sakes that they're close. I hope it continues as they move into their careers and other relationships. I'm sorry to hear that your relationship with your twin ha had its stumbling blocks.
    I hope you had a good evening.

  12. Hi Cat,
    I'm so happy that you're getting the opportunity to complete your hike! Your family will manage just fine, I'm sure. Enjoy your hike, Cat!

  13. Hi Alice,
    your family did quite well with the car-sharing! It's a bit of a headache but it saves so much money, not just for the extra car(s), but the insurance on any extra cars with young drivers is exorbitant. Good work!

  14. Hi Kris,
    that's a fabulous price per pound on your turkey! I'm so happy for you!
    Yeah, the ad said 13 to 20 lb turkey free, but I couldn't find any 18, 19 or just 20-lb ones. So I asked at the customer service desk and the lady said the worst that would happen was I would get the first 20 lbs free, then pay 49 cents/lb for the excess. But as it turned out, the whole thing range up as free. So, very happy about that. And now we can afford a couple of other things with the turkey money! Just got to keep my head about me and not just spend the money too fast or on frivolous stuff.
    Hope you had a great evening, Kris!

  15. Hi Melissa,
    you did very well in making the minimum spend for your free turkey. Those are all foods that are basic and will last for a while. I hadn't heard that about the popcorn. I'll check my supply and see if I can get another bag at Cash & Carry or WinCo. Thanks for the heads-up on popcorn. It is a favorite snack around our house.
    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, too, Melissa!

  16. Hi YHF,
    Good deal on your free turkey. that's the way to do it, plan your spending wisely throughout the year. I've had similar comments where I didn't know if the cashier was annoyed that I didn't spend at full-price or thought it was smart of me. I just try not to overthink the whole situation and get myself out of there and home.Yeah, the early hour is a huge help -- no lines at the checkout, no carts blocking my way about the store, and I was there annoying large crowds with my hurry. So, that's the huge upside with having to go out early to shop.

    I don't know if I'd be cut out to sub. I think about it. It's a possibility for our district. I've thought I could sub just 2 days a week and not over-tire myself. I catch colds and viruses more easily than anyone I know. So, I do have to be careful of circumstances where I'm bot over-tired and in a place where there are germs everywhere.

    Wishing you a lovely evening, YHF!

  17. A quick question for those popcorn lovers. Does anyone know how to make cheesy popcorn? I have that powdered cheese (looks like mac and cheese from a box) and I would like to know how to use that in popcorn. I mostly use an air popper but would like a little flavor.


  18. Hi Alice,
    have your tried simply sprinkling the cheese powder onto the popped popcorn, then tossing well, maybe shaking it up in a paper bag? If it isn't sticking, due to the popcorn being too dry, I have heard of people using butter spray on the just popped popcorn first, then adding the cheese powder and shaking up in a bag. Good luck with this. Maybe someone else has a better suggestion.


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