The Cutting Edge: Thanksgiving – Black Enterprise

The Cutting Edge: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner and so is the big dinner with all the family’s favorite foods. But with economic conditions seeming to grow more uncertain by the day, most households are trying to be more cost conscious for this year’s festivities.

Consumer spending dropped 2.8% in October, the fourth consecutive monthly drop, according to the Department of Commerce. Retail sales for the August through October period were down 1.3% from the same time a year ago and things don’t look to be shaping up. As you prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving, here are a few tips to stretch each dollar a little further while still enjoying the day.

In its 23rd annual survey of items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported that the average cost of this year’s dinner for 10 is $44.61, a $2.35 price increase from last year’s average of $42.26. The AFBF meal includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk.

Despite higher food prices, “the components of this classic Thanksgiving dinner cost less compared to 1988 when the effects of inflation are removed,” said Jim Sartwelle, an AFBF economist. “Even at these slightly higher prices, the cost per person for this special meal remains lower than what Americans pay for most ‘value meals’ at fast-food outlets.”

If you don’t want to cook, delivery is always an option. Check out your favorite local restaurant for specials, or places like At the national food delivery company, a meal for 4-6 people comes with a turkey, gravy, stuffing, sides, rolls, dessert and cranberry sauce for about $149.99.

Make a List, Take Inventory: How many times have your gone to the grocery store only to purchase something that was hiding in the pantry? Be prepared this Turkey Day with a list of all the items you need to purchase. has a shopping list done for you. Print it out, add to it, or use it as a guide to make your own. Once you’ve made your list, go through the kitchen to make sure you won’t be purchasing an item you already have.

Rethink the Turkey: How much turkey is really eaten on Thanksgiving anyway? Sure, it can make a nice centerpiece, but how many turkey sandwiches do you really want to eat in the weeks after Thanksgiving? Consider buying parts of a turkey like a large breast, especially if you’re cooking for an intimate group. But if you’re adamant on having a whole turkey, opt for a frozen bird instead of a fresh one and save yourself about 20% in price, says Brian Todd, president of the Food Institute in New Jersey.

Take Advantage of the Turmoil: With consumer spending expected to rise only 2.2% in November and December, according to the National Retail Federation, grocers are clamoring