Love feasting on your favorite holiday foods but wish they didn’t cost so much? They don’t have to! Here are five easy tricks to save big on Thanksgiving this year and put together your holiday table on a budget.
Shop for food here.
Frustrating but true: The cost of food at grocery stores has climbed 13.5 percent higher than it was just a year ago. The good news? A new study has pinpointed the cheapest supermarkets in the US. According to the results, you’ll keep more cash in your wallet shopping at Aldi, Market Basket, WinCo, Grocery Outlet, Save A Lot, Lidl, Food4Less/ FoodsCo, Walmart, Price Rite, Marc’s, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Costco, and H-E-B.
Looking for stores with the best sales and rewards points? The same study found that the top six stores for promotional savings are Fry’s Food Stores, Tops Friendly Markets, Kroger, Smith’s, Price Chopper, and Winn- Dixie. Hint: Now’s a great time to try your supermarket’s private brands. They typically cost about 40 percent less than name brands, and you may end up preferring them to your usual brands. That’s because many popular foods have recently been reformulated due to shortages in oils, wheat and other ingredients, which can impact flavor.
Tip: Many grocery stores (including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, New Seasons Market, Tops, Weis) offer a discount for seniors, military families, and veterans. Ask your store’s manager if they offer one!
Score a free turkey.
The price of poultry has spiked in the past year due to labor shortages and supply chain issues. Luckily, in recent years, many grocery stores (including BJ’s, Giant, ShopRite, and Weis) have offered complimentary fresh or frozen birds when you’re a loyalty club member, then buy a certain amount of other groceries before Thanksgiving Day. Just drop by your supermarket’s customer service desk to ask if they’re having a free turkey promo.
Look for meal ‘kits.’
To help shoppers save cash, many groceries have created meal “kits” that include common holiday ingredients for a low price. For example, last year, Aldi packaged a meal for 10 that included turkey, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie ingredients, and more for under $30. You can also find bundled precooked meals (just heat and serve) from grocery stores. For instance, last Thanksgiving, Albertsons offered one that included turkey, cornbread dressing, potatoes, cranberry relish and more that fed 8 to 10 people for $62.99. Find out about this year’s meal kit offers at Hip2Save.com and TheKrazyCouponLady.com.
Get cash back.
You probably know to look for coupons and sales to cut your meal bill down. Also helpful: Use a credit or debit card that gives you cash back on food purchases. Some stores offer their own, like Target’s RedCard credit and debit card and Walmart’s Capital One Walmart Rewards Card, which give you 5 percent back on purchases, and H-E-B’s new H-E-B Debit card, which gives you 5 percent back on H-E-B brand products. Or you can opt for a traditional credit card that offers cash back on groceries, like the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, which gives you 3 percent cash back at most grocery stores up to $6,000, then 1 percent thereafter. To find more cash back credit cards, visit CreditCards.com or NerdWallet.com.
Heads up: Some supermarket scanners are charging more than the shelf-listed price. In most cases, staff shortages have led to employees falling behind when updating tags. To avoid an overcharge: Jot down the price of each item you put in your cart. Then watch the prices on the screen as items are scanned or check your receipt to make sure the prices match. If you spot an overcharge, let the clerk or a manager know. In most cases, they’ll refund the difference.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.