Breaking down the cost of turkey day

The cost of turkey and all the trimmings may go down as easily as grandma’s pie this year, with the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal estimated to cost less than in 2012.

The average cost of the holiday’s food staples for a family meal is predicted to go down by 44 cents from last year, according to the annual survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), released Thursday.

It may be only a slight decrease, but when prices are usually going up, up, up, anything that isn’t is welcome, say area families.

Local resident Sue Ruth said she likes to save where she can when it comes to Turkey Day.

“We’re watching for sales and using coupons,” she said.

According to the AFBF survey, the cost of a meal for 10 people will be $49.09, which is a little less than $5 per serving.

The AFBF estimates the cost by averaging non-sale food prices around the country.

All the usual Thanksgiving staples were included in the meal: 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.

Locally, there are lots of options to buy all the Thanksgiving staples for less than the $49 price tag; most stores are having sales on all Thanksgiving foods. Meal items can be bought separately or together in an already prepared meal.

Warren’s IGA, on Muskingum Drive, offers the opportunity to purchase an already-made Thanksgiving dinner that comes with all the trimmings, for about the same price as the AFBF average.

“We have a turkey or ham dinner,” Manager Mike Morrison said. “We just ask that customers call two days in advance. For $49.99 you get everything you would need for your Thanksgiving dinner.”

The dinner includes turkey or ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, noodles or green beans, cranberry relish, a dozen rolls and a 10-inch pumpkin pie. The meal will feed eight to 10 people.

The Marietta Food 4 Less has already started its Thanksgiving sale.

“We have specials running now through Thanksgiving,” said Bucky Lee, manager of the Marietta Food 4 Less. “We’ve got sales on anything you can imagine to complete a Thanksgiving meal.”

Lee said while cranberry sauces and yams are usually Thanksgiving best-sellers, pumpkin-flavored treats usually fly off the shelves.

“Anything with pumpkin, like pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls, are a favorite of most customers,” Lee said.

Thanksgiving plans are well under way with many area families.

Karen VanCamp, of Marietta, said while her meal was going to feed just her and her husband, she wasn’t afraid of making a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The savings is in the extra meals they’ll enjoy after the holiday.

“We usually buy a free-range turkey,” VanCamp said. “We are cooking all the trimmings. We’ll have plenty of leftovers.”

In contrast to saving money, the owners of The Cook’s Shop in Marietta, Ken and Dagmar Kupsche, plan on going all out this Thanksgiving. They did acknowledge that if people are trying to save this Thanksgiving, a potluck meal would be a good idea.

“Traditionally, I think that Thanksgiving isn’t about saving,” Dagmar Kupsche said. “You pull out all of the stops to make it truly special. It’s family first, but also making it a really special and thankful day to be together.”