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If you’re worried you can't afford a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, Walmart could be your saving grace. Here's how it works.

Want a free Thanksgiving dinner? Learn how Walmart could deliver

A free Thanksgiving dinner sounds way too good to be true. In fact, it sounds so unbelievable that even Snopes, a website that works to debunk internet lies, looked into the story. The thing is – it turns out this is a real offer.

If you’re worried about affording a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year then this Walmart & Ibotta partnership could be a serious lifesaver for you this year. In order to make sure you don’t pay full price you’ll need to know how the deal works, because it isn’t as simple as just walking up to a Walmart cash register with your desired grocery items.


Ibotta is a phone app that allows you to earn cash back on purchases once you’ve submitted your receipt to them and this year they’ve teamed up with Walmart and some popular food companies in order to give shoppers an entire Thanksgiving meal for free.

It’s important to note you will have to purchase all the items at full price though. Once you submit your receipt to Ibotta then you’ll get your money back, but you will get it all back.

The Ibotta website walks you through the process, first you’ll want to download their app & sign up, then you’ll want to add the items they have on offer to your Walmart list, then “Shop at Walmart in-store with the Ibotta app. Or, link your Walmart Pickup & Delivery account to shop online with the browser extension. Either way, you’ll get cash back.”

Specific items

You won’t be able to just pick any grocery items at random and deem them part of your Thanksgiving dinner to get them for free. This offer is only valid for nine specific items: 

Butterball Turkey Breast Roast, McCormick Turkey Gravy, Great Value Stuffing Mix, Great Value Cranberry Sauce, Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, Great Value Green Beans, French’s Crispy Fried Onions, and a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola.

They might not be the exact items you usually buy to cook your Thanksgiving dinner, however it’s a pretty great selection of all the traditional Thanksgiving foods – plus some soda because Coca-Cola desperately wants to be considered part of American holiday traditions. In total you’ll get approximately $20.27 back, which is all the money you’ll spend on the above listed items.

Limited offer

This offer is only available during the month of November and is limited to a “while supplies last” situation. Which makes sense, since it’s hard to get cash back on an item you couldn’t purchase because it wasn’t in the store.

Thanksgiving is actually only a week away so you might as well go ahead and place your Walmart order now if you’re considering taking advantage of this offer.

How does Ibotta exist?

Essentially giving out free money sounds like a really bad business plan and probably causes a couple of red flags to go up. It sounds like a scam, but it turns out it isn’t. The world practically runs on advertising these days and Ibotta “believes it is better to pay consumers than to advertise to them, effectively cutting the consumer in on the deal. We share a portion of the retailers’ and advertisers’ dollars directly with Ibotta users”.

Most online places get paid to show ads, however Ibotta is giving consumers some of that money with the belief that’s a better way to get people interested in a brand or product. The way they do this is through providing cash back on your purchases.

Ibotta does have some fine print about maintenance fees – if your account is inactive for 180 days then you may get a notification from them saying you’ll be charged a maintenance fee. However, they only deduct money from your Ibotta account. They make it very clear that they will never ask for payment via credit card, debit card, check, or cash.

Pinch me, it’s real

Usually when things sound too good to be true they are, and while the “strings” of this deal mean that you need to download a new app & sign up, that’s a pretty simple caveat that most people are willing to put up with. If you’re worried about how to get all the fixings for your Thanksgiving meal this deal is truly worth considering taking advantage of.

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