By Lorie Ham
With Thanksgiving behind us, most of us have seen firsthand how expensive it is now to make a holiday meal. With soaring food prices, feeding our families can be a challenge any time of the year, but especially so at the holidays when we want to provide a special experience for our family.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service website the all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, increased by 7.7 percent since October 2021. The CPI for all food increased 0.7 percent from September 2022 to October 2022, and food prices were 10.9 percent higher in October 2022 than in October 2021. The level of food price inflation varies depending on whether the food was purchased for consumption at home or away from home. The food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) CPI increased 0.5 percent from September 2022 to October 2022 and was 12.4 percent higher in October 2022 than in October 2021.
So how do we cope with the increased prices and still provide a great meal? What might we do differently this year when it comes to holiday grocery shopping? Buy less? Substitute less expensive items, or possibly cut back elsewhere so we can provide the same type of meal our family has come to expect?
Mennonite Insurance staff member Claudia Fletes decided to have a potluck for Thanksgiving to spread the cost of the meal around. When staff member Dalia Jimenez saw the price of cooking oil recently ($11 a bottle) she knew her family would not be having fried chicken this holiday season.
“Eating a holiday meal at a restaurant may cost about the same, but you don’t have to worry about cooking,” shared staff member Yolanda Hernandez. She also suggested buying less food. “We sometimes end up with extra desserts and food that we end up throwing away in the trash a few days later. Cooking less and buying less will definitely be a priority of mine this year. Possibly even doing without some side dishes.”
Home Cooking Memories has ten suggestions for saving money on holiday meals. They include having a shopping list to cut back on impulse buying, using coupons, loading up on inexpensive side dishes, and making new traditions that include food that is cheaper to make. Two Kids and a Coupon suggests some of the same things already mentioned, such as potlucks and making less food. Another suggestion of theirs is to think outside the grocery store and check discount places such as Dollar Stores and to use money-saving apps.
We would love to hear some money-saving tips that you tried this Thanksgiving that could also be used at Christmas! Please share with us on our Facebook page!