The cost of the annual Thanksgiving feast is up about 6% this year, according to The Times-Tribune’s annual grocery store survey of 15 popular fixings.

It shouldn’t set any family chef back too badly. At an average $52.06 calculated from prices provided by Gerrity’s, Price Chopper and Wegmans, that’s up less than up $3 compared to 2018. Food prices generally enjoy stability from year to year.

But if you are still looking for ways to save in the grocery store, we compiled a few tips that might help you along the way.

  1. Make your menu, then your shopping list. This is an age-old grocery shopping trick. You’ll fare much better when you walk in with a plan. Remember: it only works if you stick to it.
  2. Beat the rush. Get it in early and avoid long lines, crowded aisles and carts bumping the back of your ankles. You’ll think clearer and have an easier time owning No. 1 on this list.
  3. Buy generic. Most of the ingredients used for Thanksgiving dinner don’t need to be name brand. Nobody’s really going to notice the difference if you use Jet-Puffed or Best Yet marshmallows on your sweet potatoes, and you’ll save $1.50 at Gerrity’s. For some dishes, you might need to get specific. Some cranky uncles can spot fake Stove Top stuffing a mile away, but most other things have indiscernible differences.
  4. Simplify your dinner. This idea came from a Washington Post article. Poll your guests ahead of time and ask what dishes they could live without? You might be surprised when everyone’s OK with only one style of kielbasa. Green bean casserole is always non-negotiable.
  5. Reconsider the entree. The turkey might be the most expected dish on the menu, but get one right-sized for your party. They might be fine with just turkey breast filets or drumsticks.

Also, The Times-Tribune survey includes Butterball turkeys for consistency’s sake, but most grocery stores have special deals on turkeys, and if you pay attention and spend enough on other things, you might score one for free depending when and where you shop.

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