Costco, Aldi, and More: How to Shop for Thanksgiving Like a Smartypants

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Studio Six/Stocksy)

The only thing that’s possibly more overwhelming than making all this food for Thanksgiving is shopping for it. Where should you go? How much is this going to cost you? What items are you destined to forget? What special little things should you buy? See? Overwhelming!

We can help you! This year, we sent a stellar reporter to four of our readers’ favorite supermarkets to price things out — using the same menu at each store — and uncover the best buys. Keep reading to decide which supermarket is going to be best for you.

(Image credit: Aldi)


Aldi has a well-earned reputation for being extremely inexpensive. So it might not be surprising to learn that the total for our Thanksgiving menu was the lowest at this discount grocery store. But it may surprise you to learn that we shopped for a holiday dinner for eight and spent less than $70. That’s less than $10 per person for Thanksgiving dinner, and all the fruits and vegetables were organic!

More on Thanksgiving at Aldi

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)


Grocery shopping for all the supplies on our list actually cost more at Costco than at Whole Foods. But that’s because we had to buy certain things in (way) larger quantities. For example, our menu only calls for three onions, but if you bought everything from Costco you would wind up with 20 pounds of onions, or at least 37 more onions than you’d need. So it might not be the best place for all your Thanksgiving shopping. That said, if you feel like visiting two stores, you should head to Costco for pumpkin pie. And maybe even the turkey!

More on Thanksgiving at Costco

(Image credit: Whole Foods)

Whole Foods

Considering that Whole Foods is frequently called “Whole Paycheck,” we were shocked by how reasonable Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods turned out to be. We did not anticipate spending less than $125 on dinner for eight people at Whole Foods. It’s certainly possible to spend a lot more money at Whole Foods, of course. (The store was well-stocked with fancy cheese, fine wines, and artisanal breads and chocolates.) But if you stick to just what’s on the menu, Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods is surprisingly reasonable.

More on Thanksgiving at Whole Foods

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Trader Joe’s

As might have been expected, Trader Joe’s is more expensive than Aldi, but less expensive than Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s didn’t have Worcestershire sauce or ground mustard powder, but of every store we went to, only Whole Foods had mustard powder, and only Aldi had anything resembling Worcestershire sauce. (Aldi did not carry fresh herbs, though.)

More on Thanksgiving and Trader Joe’s

(Image credit: Jelena Jojic Tomic/Stocksy)

A Few Other Things to Shop For

Will you be shopping at one (or more) of these stores? Which one(s)?