Some officials have said this year's Thanksgiving dinner might be more expensive than last year, but experts are offering tips to combat rising prices at the grocery store.

What You Need To Know

  • The American Farm Bureau Federation says this year’s Thanksgiving dinner could be 14% more expensive than last year’s

  • The Farm Bureau says the rising cost of turkey is a huge culprit for the price increase

  • Danielle Dimengo with Akron Children's Hospital suggests using an alternative, less-expensive meat to save money this Thanksgiving

  • For those who must have turkey, Dimengo recommends using a smaller turkey and using in-season side dishes such as Brussels sprouts

The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that a spike in the cost of turkey will cause the price of a typical Thanksgiving meal to increase 14 percent from last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has pushed back on claims of price increases, says that the cost for Thanksgiving staples is only up 5 percent from a year ago. 

If you’re needing to cook Thanksgiving dinner on a budget, experts are offering some tips on ways to save a few dollars.

Danielle Dimengo with Akron Children's Hospital said that you don't have to break the bank to have a memorable holiday. She said being flexible and planning ahead can help make all of the difference in how much you pay this turkey day. 

While turkey is the traditional meat served, there is no rule that you have to have it. 

Dimengo suggests trying other, less-expensive meats or even going meatless, perhaps with a vegetable lasagna.

If going without turkey is non-negotiable for your family but you are trying to budget, she said to opt for a smaller bird and focus on the side dishes. She suggests to use produce that is in-season. 

She compared the prices of a large bag of Brussels sprouts to a carton of strawberries.

"Side dishes, such as Brussels sprouts, can definitely be cost-saving because these are in season,” Dimengo said. "So, I purchased this bag of fresh brussels sprouts for less than five dollars and it was a big bag, so in comparison, this carton of strawberries was $5.99.” 

If you are having trouble finding popular items like canned pumpkin on the shelves, Dimengo suggests getting creative. You can make swaps for many popular food items. 

“If we can’t find pumpkin on the shelves, sweet potato or canned yams can be a very similar substitute, so packed with a lot of the same nutrients and we can make a pie,” she said.

For many families, this will be the first year spent together since the start of the pandemic, so why not make some new traditions? 

Dimengo suggests having a potluck to save money and also give friends and family members a chance to show off their culinary skills.  

"With this pandemic this might be the first holiday that we are all spending together," she said. "You really want to enjoy your time together with family.”