How inflation will affect your Thanksgiving shopping bill this year

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s about time to start planning your Thanksgiving meal next week and if you’re hosting, prepare to deal with high prices at the grocery store.

While October’s inflation report shows the consumer price index cooling a little bit, grocery prices are still high and your Thanksgiving shopping bill will be no exception.

The report shows food prices up 11% overall from last October.

2021-2022 October price index increase

Bureau of Labor Statistics

2021-2022 October price index increase

A lot of Thanksgiving dinner staples specifically had double digit price index increases.

Some of them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are the largest-ever annual price increases for October in recorded history.

This includes butter and margarine up 34%, flour and prepared flour mixes up 24%, canned fruits up 19% and frozen vegetables up 17% in just one year.

Financial Engagement Manager with Numerica Jon Maroni says while inflation is outside of our control, budgeting and cutting back where needed isn’t.

He suggests buying what you need for Thanksgiving the week prior, like your non-perishable items that won’t go bad before you need to prepare them.

The earlier the better to avoid price increases and limited supply as we get closer to the holiday.

Some other tips include substituting name-brand items for generic, taking alcohol and certain side dishes out of your menu, or hosting a Friendsgiving-style feast where multiple people can contribute to the meal.

For those not wanting to spend Thanksgiving in the kitchen, several Inland Northwest restaurants are hosting or providing take-out dinners.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Eat Good Group
  • The Spokane Club
  • Rind and Wheat
  • The Grain Shed
  • Cole’s Bakery Cafe
  • Bake My Day
  • Shawn O’Donnell’s
  • Bean and Pie
  • Vieux Carre
  • TT’s Old Iron Brewery
  • Outlaw BBQ & Catering Market
  • Made With Love Bakery
  • Clinkerdagger

Keep in mind that many restaurants are setting pre-order deadlines that are coming up soon.

Local grocery stores may also be offering pre-made Thanksgiving dinners.

During the pandemic, Thanksgiving to-go meals became the alternative to gathering for a home-cooked meal.

But is it the best alternative to facing inflated prices at the grocery store? Maroni says it is not.

“In general, cooking at home tends to be much more affordable than eating out, even if you’re doing a big, even, family-style meal like Thanksgiving out,” said Maroni.

If you really want to save money this year, dining out is not the way to go.

But Maroni says those who can afford it should be encouraged to support local restaurants.

RELATED: Inflation impacts local food bank ahead of Thanksgiving