CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The government says a Thanksgiving meal for a typical family will cost almost $50 this year.
It will be the most expensive Thanksgiving dinner in history, based on the annual price survey.
But there are ways to keep those costs down, without going hungry.
Shopper Curt Sellers is bracing for an expensive Thanksgiving.
“Steak and everything has gone up 30 and 40 percent,” Sellers said.
Luckily, turkey prices are not up as much as steak prices the past year, according to a small grocer’s purchasing manager J.T. Homan.
He says they are trying not to pass rising costs on to customers, even though turkey from their local farms is up 20 cents a pound this year.
“Twenty cents is a big jump, on my end,” Homan said.
They are also seeing price hikes with canned veggies, dinner rolls, and even vanilla extract.
And they’re coping with shortages of cranberry sauce and small birds.
And if you’re having trouble finding a small turkey, experts say don’t worry about it: Roast a larger one this year, you’d be amazed at all the things you can do with the leftovers once thanksgiving dinner is done.
Market owner Allison Homan explained “the best thing about turkey dinner is it can become 10 things the next day. It can become breakfast, casseroles, fabulous sandwiches.”
Plus, a big turkey is cheaper per pound than a small one.
If you are cooking just for two people, and can only find big 20-pound turkeys, consider a whole roast chicken.
After all, there is no law saying you must eat turkey.
As for veggies, Homan suggests checking their fresh produce section.
For instance, she suggests you buy fresh, not canned sweet potatoes.
At 89 cents a pound — they are cheaper, healthier, and give you many more options.
“That is very affordable,” she said. “That can become au gratin, a casserole, mashed sweet potatoes.”
And to keep costs low, reduce the number of sides, if you are cooking everything. You don’t need 5 or 6 sides, unless Henry VIII is among your guests.
Also consider reducing the number of guests, unless they are bringing food with them.
Finally, to avoid the chance of running into shortages, you may want to buy the fixings now, and not wait another week.
That way, you don’t waste your money.
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