10 Ways to Take the Bite out of the Thanksgiving Budget

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — As Americans prepare to sit down and give thanks for all we have by preparing and serving the most lavish dinner of the year, many Americans still recovering from a sluggish economy are wondering how they can save on those Thanksgiving groceries.

According to a Purdue University press release, Americans will be paying even more for Thanksgiving staples this year due to the overall increase in food prices, which adds up to 6.38% average increase since September 2011.

In the spirit of being thankful for good deals, we asked experts how consumers can save on their Thanksgiving groceries – beyond using coupons and watching sale ads – and they came up with these 10 tips:

1. Find out who’s in. It may seem like a no-brainer to get the headcount now, but people with tight budgets can’t afford for family members to waffle on their invitation. Sherria Cotton, PR manager with grandparents.com, says, “By tallying your guests early, you'll get a head start on shopping and menu planning. Make food for two extra people, anyway. That way, last-minute stragglers can attend, and/or you'll have even more delicious leftovers.”

2. Make the plan. “The key to saving on groceries is taking time to plan your list and shopping strategy. Believe me, the savings will be worth a little extra planning time,” says Stephanie Nelson, savings expert at CouponMom.com. Nelson says by making the list of dishes, surveying what you already have in your pantry and freezer and planning to buy what’s necessary, you will save money before you even leave your house.

3. Skip the fancy dishes. “Instead of pricey produce like Brussels sprouts, choose economical vegetables like carrots and corn,” Cotton says. “For even bigger savings, pack the table with starches, which tend to be bargains. Biscuits, mashed potatoes and yams are perfect for the season anyway.” As for the turkey, many grocery stores give away free turkeys for people who spending a certain amount. Look for those types of bargains and giveaways.