Inflation and financial challenges could be a rain cloud
over the first holiday feast of the season. Yes, prices have continually risen
in the food category, which rose 10.9% in the last year, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest Consumer Price Index report. This year, Thanksgiving
hosting is expected to hit a four-year low according to a recent LendingTree
survey. Only 26% of Americans plan to host Thanksgiving this year which is a
45% decrease compared to last year. To make matters worse, the bird flu is
causing turkey production and expectation to be lower which is driving prices
up. However, there are some solutions for consumers looking to enjoy
Thanksgiving on a budget.
1. Saving on Turkeys:
Depending on the number of people you are serving, consider skipping the full turkey and save money by simply serving turkey breasts, wings, or legs instead. Also, if you find that you have leftover pantry items like pasta, soup stock, canned green beans, and frozen veggies over the past year, now could be the right time to use them. It could be time to serve an alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Consider All Options:
One way to help with Thanksgiving dinner costs is to think inside the can, or in the frozen section. Fresh may sound better but can also be more expensive. Honestly, when it comes to something like pumpkin pie, how many people will really be able to tell whether the filling originally came from a fresh pumpkin? This goes for frozen vegetables too! It's doubtful anyone will notice the green bean casserole was made from the frozen section of the grocery store.
3. Collect the Right Deals for Your Shopping List:
It's a good time to check out those free grocery flyers that you receive weekly in the mail. You may find that a specific item you plan to include in your thanksgiving dinner could be significantly cheaper at another store that you frequent less. Look for deals on what you need, but don't buy something just because it's on sale. You can waste a lot of money that way. If you don't really need these items and aren't going to use them, take a rain check.
4. Start Shopping Early:
If you have never been in the grocery store on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it is a frenzy. Instacart found that the 10 most purchased items were purchased on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. So don't wait! One tip to avoid making the trip the day before and fighting long lines is to purchase your big items as soon as possible. Then, over the next few weeks, you can collect your cooking staples to make sure that you are fully stocked to prepare.
5. Turn Celebration into Potluck:
Just because you host, does not mean you have to cook all the food. Instead of taking on all the obligation for preparing the celebration, consider a potluck and have guests bring a side like a salad, mashed potatoes, or even a dessert, while you take on the turkey and a couple other dishes yourself. This helps you avoid potentially going over budget and helps take some of the stress off of you to prepare the whole meal.