Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Jumps! How to Save $$$
Can you afford to give thanks this year? The American Farm Bureau Federation is predicting the average 10 person turkey dinner will cost 13 percent more than it did last year. Expect to shell out at least $50 bucks for the average 10 person turkey dinner. That's the highest price for the holiday meal on record.
Blame the centerpiece. The price of a turkey spiked this year. The side dishes aren't helping either. Just about the only thing that hasn't gotten more expensive is relish, according to the AFBF. Before you crack out the hot dogs for the holidays, there's still something to be thankful for: the year's best deals on groceries are actually happening now. Extreme couponers will tell you pre-Thanksgiving is the prime time to stock up on food for the year. "Don't settle for anything less than half off, and expect even better," advises Teri Gault, C.E.O. of The Grocery Game, a money-saving supermarket sweep site. "Sales change every week. So by gathering over the course of weeks, you'll save more money, and you'll be ahead of the game, and have less shopping and hauling to do at the last minute."
More ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner here!
With that in mind, before you plan your recipes for the holiday, scan major coupon websites like coupons.com and smartsource.com to print out the best clippings and plan your menu around what's cheapest. Here's a head start...
For the turkey:
Last year, a 16-pound turkey cost about $17.50. This year it's around four bucks more. To battle bird costs, turn to rebates, says coupon guru Chrystie Corns. "This year Butterball is offering a $5 rebate when you Buy 1 Butterball Frozen or Fresh Whole Turkey," she says. That means you can turn back the clock on your turkey cost.
Another trade secret? Stack the deals. Your local supermarket may be offering discounts on turkey, but so are manufacturers. First scour local supermarket clippings for "store coupons", and then check out websites for Hormel, Butterball and other major turkey brands (here's a list) to find discounts you can double up on at the register.
For the sides:
Stuffing, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries and peas have all gotten pricier this year, according to the AFBF. So this year, let deals dictate your side-dish menu. Check for freebies at websites like Red Plum, where a list of giveaways at national chains are posted weekly. Another tech-smart trick: download the Red Laser app to your phone and use it to scan sides you really want to make. The app will pull up the price of your dish and then roll out a list of similar products by other brands that are less expensive.
Remember you've still got time before the holidays, so you don't have to buy all your groceries in one trip. "Be open to purchasing items at different stores," suggests Corns. "For example, this week Target has the best deal on Stove Top Stuffing priced at $.89 cents."
Since milk's gone up 42 cents this year, check out recipes that use powdered milk which can be cheaper and lasts longer. Butter and brown sugar are also heavily discounted for the holiday season, says Gault, so factor that into your dessert decisions. The AFBF says pie shells and whipped cream have added a few cents to their price point overall, but Gault says the biggest discounts for those two baking items are available now, so you may not actually feel the pinch.
If you've got the time, consider doing your baking from scratch. Making pie crusts and dinner rolls with a little flour and yeast may require extra work, but it'll knock down your grocery bill significantly. Because biscuits and pie shells freeze well, you can actually make these ahead of time so they're good to go the big day.