Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner rises 13% - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner rises 13%

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

There are only six more days to shop for your Thanksgiving dinner, and chances are it will leave your wallet looking slim.

According to a new report, the cost of a traditional meal for a family of ten is up 13 percent from one year ago. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the average cost for Thanksgiving dinner in 2011 will be $49.20. Last year's average meal totaled $43.47.

But many,  like Sidney Halverson, have been budgeting quite a bit more for your meal this year. 

"I spent all day today writing down cooking times and recipes," Halverson said as she was shopping in the aisles of a Waterloo grocery store Friday.

This year is Halverson's first time hosting, and preparing, Thanksgiving dinner. She's armed with a long list of ingredients and a hefty budget.

"We're trying to stay around $150, because we have so many people coming. I'm expecting to go over it," she said.

Most families won't spend quite that much on their traditional dinner. But for those going for the classic turkey spread, expect to pay more this year.

"Grain prices have gone up, so turkey prices have gone up. Because turkeys eat grain," Hy-Vee Store Director Jeff Suchomel said.

Suchomel says that there are dozens of ways to save if you shop smart. Some stores offer free turkeys with another purchase, and you can find almost every Thanksgiving staple item at a discount. Some of the offers are advertised in the weekly newspaper, others are right on the product.

"Be sure to go through the ad, cause a lot of those offers will be in the ad. But when you're in the store, look at the products while you're shopping," he said.

Another consideration: shopping local.  Advocates say investing in local producers means your dollars will stay closer to home.

"You get a local bird, grown right here in the community. We also have fresh local eggs, we have a lot of produce that comes fresh locally," said Suchomel.

And as you watch your grand total add up at the register, try to remember the true value of the holiday.

"Being able to spend time with my friends is a big deal to me. And knowing they're all there for you -- it's a good time to spend,"  Halverson said.

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