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Why Thanksgiving May Cost You More This Year11.12.13

>>The American Farm Bureau Federation has been tracking the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 30 years. When the group first began tracking the cost of a Thanksgiving meal in 1986, the average dinner for 10 people cost around $28.74. In 2012, that same meal cost approximately $49.48, an increase of more than 72%. While that may seem like a staggering jump, the reality is that the true cost of a traditional Thanksgiving feast has actually gone down when you account for inflation. If that’s true, why does it often feel like a holiday spread with all the fixings is so expensive? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, incomes have actually been decreasing over time – particularly for those at the lower end of the income range. And while the cost of food may not be keeping pace, other costs of living are on the rise, such as housing and education. So how can you save some money this year? Here’s how:

Shop around

Check online and in-store coupons and advertisements for the lowest per-pound turkey price.

Procrastinate

Turkey prices tend to drop close to Thanksgiving, so waiting until the last minute can pay off. And if you’re hosting a Thanksgiving-style meal after November 28, do your shopping after the actual holiday too – stores tend to put unsold turkey’s and other essentials on sale after the big day.

Get (or give) help

Food shelves, churches, veterans groups, meals-on-wheels programs and some schools will often give away complete meal kits or help with some of the fixings for free. If you need help with the cost of a meal, check with a local group in your areas. Or, if you want to donate food, ask your local organization how you can help. Remember, donations may be tax deductible. How can you get the most your of your income? Visit a Jackson Hewitt office in January, and see how you can get the biggest refund you’re eligible for this tax season.