The hidden costs of Thanksgiving dinner | Holiday
By The Investopedia staff
The Problem with Corn The USDA reported the average cost per bushel of corn in 2012 to 2013 would increase by $1.20 or more, bringing it over the six dollar mark. Why the increase? Combined with crop-damaging weather and supplies diverted to feed livestock, our quantity of edible, available corn has been reduced due to the rise in popularity of ethanol, a fuel made from corn. How will this impact your Thanksgiving dinner? Expect to pay more for this harvest staple in its original form, as well as in any product made from corn. Some common grocery items using corn include:
Soft drink sweeteners
While it might be hard to imagine Thanksgiving dinner without corn, keep this pricey veggie (and products made from it) to a minimum for a small reduction in your grocery bill.
Organic Side Dishes Will Cost You As if the price increase of corn wasn't enough, other vegetables are likely to cost you more this year as well. While organic produce is always a great choice when it comes to your health, it's also an easy way to spend $50 or more on Thanksgiving produce alone. Instead of shelling out the extra cash or skipping your fruits and veggies altogether, check out which produce is worth the higher organic price.
The Dirty Dozen These 12 fruits and vegetables feature the highest levels of pesticides, making pricier organic options actually worth the money:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Mushrooms Carefully selecting which fruits and vegetables are worth the higher costs can make a pretty big impact on your Thanksgiving grocery bill. If you're truly concerned with pesticides, then set aside a healthy chunk of your dinner budget for fresh, organic produce. Otherwise, stick to traditional frozen and canned versions of your favorite fruits and vegetables to see significant savings.
More Money-Saving Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner
- Provide ice cream with pies. It costs less, and will help fill up most guests before they want another slice!
- Scope out sales at your local grocery store. Buying the ingredients for a pumpkin pie could cost you less than ordering one from a bakery. Just make the pies a day or two in advance so you're free to tend to the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
- Recycle your Halloween decor. Any pumpkins, branches, berries, acorns, leaves or other harvest decor can be left in place or simply shifted around to seamlessly transfer from Halloween to Thanksgiving.
- If you do have to buy new decor for Thanksgiving, stick to a few simple statement pieces. One medium to large centerpiece on the dining table, one thick garland in your doorway and one cornucopia will look appropriate and stylish compared to dozens of small knickknacks scattered throughout the house. Invest in quality pieces and you'll be able to use them at Halloween and Thanksgiving for years to come.
- Avoid fresh flowers or produce in your displays as they'll cost more and need to be replaced each year.The Bottom Line Expect to pay more for corn and products made with it, as well as any organic fruits and vegetables included in your holiday meal. Need big savings on your Thanksgiving dinner costs? Skip Heritage Turkeys and you'll likely save up to $100. Your average supermarket turkey won't have as much dark meat, but several smaller birds from your local store can easily be slow-cooked, providing plenty of delicious dark meat. Supplement pricey pies with cheaper sweets and invest in a few faux pumpkins and garlands to reuse year after year. Originally posted on Investopedia.com