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Your Holiday Meals Are Going To Cost 13.5% More In 2022

Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Pies. Oh My!

Cranberry Sauce. Creamed Corn. Candied Carrots. Hot Buns. And don't forget the Wine!

November is cruising along, and the crescendo of the month — Thanksgiving — is just around the corner. 

The annual gathering of friends and family kicks off the longer holiday season, with festive meals, potlucks, celebrations, and annual events dotting the calendar from now until the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31, 2022 to close out the year and welcome in 2023.

Now, I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re accustomed to a full spread at these events, and if you’re footing the bill as the host, well, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny this year.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), American’s classic Thanksgiving dinner will cost 13.5% more in 2022, coming in at a whopping $53.31 per meal, up from $46.90 in 2021.

In AFBF’s 36th annual report on Thanksgiving food prices, “The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $23.99 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.50 per pound, up 24% from last year.”

“Several factors contributed to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and high global demand for food, particularly meat,” she explained. Further, “The trend of consumers cooking and eating at home more often due to the pandemic led to increased supermarket demand and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019.”

A deep-dive into specific menu items reveals where the largest price hikes are. For example, two frozen pie crusts cost $2.91, up 20% from the year before. One dozen dinner rolls spiked to $3.05, up 15% from 2021. Cranberries are up 11%; whole milk is up 7%; pumpkin pie mix is up 7%; veggie trays are up 12%; and stuffing mix is up 19%!

Food is not the only thing rising in price. Americans are feeling the pinch of their pocketbooks on everything from rent, to fuel, to healthcare.

However, a fine Thanksgiving feast can still be achieved on a budget. I’m a frugal farm mom, and I wanted to share with you some of my best tips for stretching your hard-earned dollars this holiday season.

First, buy in bulk. Stockpile meat when you can, and although the overall price tag may be intimidating, purchasing from a local source and filling the freezer is the best long-term bang for your buck.

Don’t turn away leftovers. Your Thanksgiving turkey can become a new meal in the days and weeks ahead. Shred and freeze in turkey in bags, and use in soups and casseroles throughout the winter months. 

Buy frozen instead of fresh to save on the price per ounce for most fruits and vegetables. 

Shop around for deals. Look for discounts. Use coupons and reward points at grocery stores.

Share the hosting duties, and ask friends and family to bring a dish to pass.

Finally, remember that during the holiday season, it’s not about how extravagant the meal is, how expensive the gifts are, or how Pinterest-worthy your home is decorated. The holiday season is about quality time spent together with the ones we love. 

So dust off the old board games and puzzles. Put on an old classic movie. Crank up the fireplace. And gather together to create memories. Sometimes the best way to create lasting traditions is to savor the most simple moments we can share together.

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