SAN ANTONIO — You won't have to eat like a bird this Thanksgiving even though the price of your dinner is likely to cost you more.
Before you head to the store, make a list of every ingredient you will need and see what you already have in your pantry.
“This is so you don’t double up and waste money and end up throwing anything in the trash,” said Andrea Woroch, a smart-shopping expert. “This is also really important because you don’t want to end up realizing you’re missing an ingredient when you’re cooking, because that’s when you run to the nearest convenience store and overpay.”
Look at store circulars to see what items are on sale and where.
“You can use an app like Flipp,” Woroch said. “This aggregates all the store circulars in one place so you can see which grocery store has the best deals on the items I want to buy.”
Also, sign up for store-loyalty programs and store apps. This will help you get access to promotions, deals and coupons.
Cut costs at the store by buying store brands.
“In many cases, they are less expensive,” said Leslie Sarasin, president of the Food Industry Association.
“Whether it’s your flour, your sugar, or even those spices and herbs, go with the generic option,” said Woroch. “These are single-ingredient goods. So the name brand can’t make it any better than the generic store-brand option.”
Store brands or generic brands are usually found either on the top or the bottom of store shelves.
Save by doing more work in the kitchen yourself.
“Avoid those prepared foods, the chopped carrots and things like that, because you’re paying for that preparation,” said Trae Bodge, a smart-saving expert. “I know that it’s more work in the kitchen, but if you’re looking to save money, that’s a really good way to save. Don’t pay someone else to do the prep work for you.”
“These things are going to cost you anywhere from 40 to 100% more,” Woroch added.
Let us talk turkey. You will be giving thanks for poultry prices if it's your main meat-based dish.
“Beef and pork are expected to be up 6.5 to 7.5% (in price) this year,” said Veronica Nigh, a senior economist with the American Farm Bureau Association. "Poultry is up 3.5 to 4.5%."
The Farm Bureau said there are likely to be fewer turkeys this year, but they will be bigger. The agency recommends shopping early for your bird.
“You also really want to think about how many people you are feeding because you don’t want to buy too much this year,” Woroch said.
Buy in bulk if you are hosting a large gathering.
“If you’re already paying for a wholesale club membership, this is the time to take advantage of those savings. At wholesale clubs, you can save up to 40% off,” Bodge said.
Think about making the meal a potluck to spread the cost.
“Ask somebody that’s coming to bring their favorite dish,” Woroch said. “People like to contribute. People like to share their recipes.”
“Feel free to delegate those things,” said Jessica Weaver, a financial expert. “Then people can feel more included and it’s a lot less work time and especially money when it comes down to it.”
Buy frozen rather than fresh where you can.
“If you don’t use it all, it doesn’t go to waste,” Woroch said. “Stick it back in your freezer.”
Do not fret if you do not want to cook. Check out deal site CouponFollow, which offers promotions, plus an exclusive savings code for KENS viewers for $20 off your first UberEats purchase on Thanksgiving by using code KEN20. Blue Apron offers $110 off your first four boxes through the end of this year, no code necessary, and Hello Fresh will give you $90 off if you sign up for the auto-subscription option.
Make the holiday festive by stretching your decorating dollars, too.
“Go to the local dollar store,” Weaver said. “I love the dollar store for those little fillers for the table. Have kids decorate cookies that you can use for name tags on the table. Get creative at the local fabric store. You can get amazing fabrics on discount that you can just throw on top of one another and layer for this beautiful table.”
Carry over the savings to your leftovers.
“Make a casserole that you can then freeze and use it a month later, because we are a little overstuffed by the time Thanksgiving ends,” Weaver said.
Make your feast one where everyone has plenty to eat and keep your wallet full, too.
If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@KENS5.com or call us as (210) 377-8647.