As you put together your shopping list for your Thanksgiving meal, prepare to pay a bit more. The cost of turkey has gone up compared to last year and so has the cost of the entire thanksgiving dinner.
The American Farm Bureau Federation just released a report that says Americans will spend 3% more on Thanksgiving groceries than they did in 2011 and 14% more than we did two years ago. If you’re planning on celebrating the occasion and footing the entire bill for a group of 10 people, you would have paid $43.47 in 2010, and $49.20 last year. This year, expect to pay $49.48… unless you employ some money-savings strategies. At roughly $1.39 a pound, buying a Turkey in 2012 is about about 4 cents per pound more expensive. A 16-pound turkey will cost about $22.23 this year, the AFBF said (66 cents more than last year).
Here are my favorite tips that I share each year when planning the big meal:
1. Share the workload – Don’t do Thanksgiving alone! It’s more economical to focus on a couple dishes to provide a larger group than to provide everything for just your family. This will save you plenty of time, too.
2. Don’t buy your turkey early. Procrastination does pay in some cases. The best turkey deals happen on the week of Thanksgiving. Compare all the local stores – even the ones you don’t regularly shop. Some stores offer incentives to buy your turkey from them. Some stores may even offer a free turkey if you purchase a set dollar amount in order to get the complimentary bird. Do some quick math along with some online research (figuring out where to use your coupons) and you can come out ahead by waiting for the right opportunity.
3. Should you go for the larger bird? It depends. According to the USDA, any leftover turkey should be eaten within 3-4 days if refrigerated. Properly frozen turkey can be stored, thawed and eaten within 4-6 months. Depending on the sale, your budget, and your willingness to work with (and eat) that much leftover turkey, a larger turkey may be a great purchase this year despite the higher cost.
4. Use coupons! There’s a reason I always advise that families use coupons… they WORK! Combined with the right sales, you can buy many items (particularly those in cans, packages, or boxes) at a fraction of the cost that non-couponers pay. Don’t leave hundreds of dollars on the table this month. Go ahead and use your coupons from your Sunday paper and the Internet. I can tell you exactly when and where to use them for maximum savings. (Visit SavingsAngel.com to learn more)
5. Decorating? Try nature instead. Send the kids outdoors to find leaves, pine cones, and pine sprigs to make an attractive centerpiece this Thanksgiving. If you must purchase items to decorate with, I recommend checking the dollar stores over conventional retailers or party stores. You may find some autumn-themed decoration deals for next year while out shopping on Black Friday (November 23rd).
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