What’s a good price for a turkey?
As in years past, this year I’ll be tracking the current best prices of turkeys at local grocery stores (for my area – the Puget Sound). This is a topic I’ve spent a fair amount of time and effort compiling and my goal is to help you save big on what may well be the biggest dinner you’ll prepare this year!
I wanted to start by updating you on some general information on finding the best deal on a turkey for 2016, as well as provide some past prices. There are a few factors to consider when looking for the right turkey deal for you:
Most stores require a grocery purchase for the best turkey price.
When looking at where to buy your turkey, consider first where you do the bulk of your shopping. Most stores are offering a solid discount on a turkey, but only if you spend money on additional groceries in the store. For instance, in 2014 Safeway offered a turkey at $0.69/lb when you spent $35 or more. If you spent $35 or more at Albertsons in 2014, you could score a “buy one, get one free” turkey promotion. And if you spent $150 or more at Fred Meyer in 2015, you’d score a FREE turkey. This is something to consider as you don’t want to start making random purchases to meet the threshold that will ultimately negate your turkey savings.
Obviously, the less you have to pay to get the deal, the better. Some stores even include the turkey as part of the grocery purchase, and some stores use the price before any coupons are deducted as the minimum. Make sure you understand the fine print of the offer as it’s likely to vary from store to store.
Comparing turkey prices may be like comparing apples to oranges.
As you can see in my example above, it may be tricky to compare apples to apples when it comes to shopping around for the best turkey price! Factors including how much you have to spend at the stores and which store(s) you like to shop at may influence what’s the best turkey deal for you.
You’ll save more on a frozen turkey.
Remember that it takes several days to defrost a frozen turkey, so you’ll want to make sure to pick yours up 1-2 weeks out from Thanksgiving. Wait until the last minute, and you’ll be stuck either paying more for a fresh turkey or stressing over whether your frozen turkey will defrost in time. Plan ahead!
The price per pound is likely to increase this year.
The best price per pound I’ve noted for the past five years has slowly crept up. (These prices exclude “free turkey” type promotions):
- $0.69/lb for 2015
- $0.69/lb for 2014
- $0.59/lb for 2013
- $0.49/lb for 2012
- $0.29/lb for 2011
- $0.26/lb for 2010
Please note that additional grocery purchases would have been needed to obtain these prices. Given these numbers and my gut feeling, I would target $0.79/lb or lower as a good per-pound price.
Other factors may raise the cost.
This may be fairly obvious, but some things are likely going to impact the cost, including:
- Free-range, and/or organic turkeys. If these things matter to you, plan on paying more money.
- Butterball and other premium brand turkeys. The best deal I spotted last year on Butterball turkeys was $1.19/lb (at Target).
- Fresh turkeys. The best deals you’ll find are on frozen – not fresh.
- Buying a turkey with no additional grocery cost. If you are just going in for a turkey, plan on paying more because you’ll likely be ineligible for any discounted price promotions.
- Local market. I’m blogging out of the greater Seattle area. You may note prices slightly higher or lower than my benchmarks because you live in a different part of the country.
It’s not at all necessarily bad if you’ve got your heart set on a Butterball turkey or if you really prefer a turkey grown on a local farm – just be prepared to pay a little extra.
Now that you have some context, are you ready to see the current deals? I’m here to help!
Once again, I’ll be updating my popular Best Turkey Prices post for 2016. Watch for updates in early November.
Need some help for prepping your turkey on Thanksgiving Day? I’ve got some help, too!
How about some ideas for the leftovers?