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Great ways to save on your Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey prices down slightly, but everything else still high
Thanksgiving Dinner
Posted at 6:27 AM, Nov 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-17 06:40:56-05

From the turkey to the cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving dinner can carve a hole in your wallet. Even though turkey prices are down, you can still expect to pay a lot for your Thanksgiving meal this year.

But there are things you can do to keep those costs down.

Kayla Hansmann Pasquale is a nutritionist but also someone who likes to save money. She says you don't have to pay top dollar for fresh vegetables and everything else.

"It's not a bad idea to do a combination of fresh, frozen, and canned," she said.

She says frozen turkey and veggies give you the most bang for your buck.

"I love frozen because they are actually picked at peak ripeness, so nutrition is packed into the product," she said.

Some good news about prices

And while grocery prices are up compared to last year, there are some silver linings, according to Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Industry Association.

"We're actually paying less right now than we had been previously this year," she said.

The latest government consumer price index figures show food prices have leveled off this fall after surging in 2022. The estimated cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will be 4.5% lower than a year ago, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Sarsin suggests acting now if you want to save and not waiting until two days before Thanksgiving.

"Plan ahead," she said. "Identify what you already have available in your pantry and in your refrigerator."

Trim the budget but still have a good dinner

Sara Rathner, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet, says to set your spending limit and then look for deals.

"Look at weekly ad circulars (mostly online these days) and see what's on sale at all the grocery stores in your area," she said.

To scan all the options at once, Rathner suggests the app Flipp. If it's still too much, she says, save time, energy, and cash by hosting a potluck for family or friends.

"Share the effort, and share the cost," Rathner said.

Pasquale says, "Don't be afraid to ask them to contribute a dish or if they have a favorite side. That goes a long way to feeding the masses over the holiday."

So look for sales, and ask your guests to bring a dish, so you don't waste your money.

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