How to Save Money on Your Holiday Meals This Year

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With just a little ways to go before Christmas, this is the time to hit the grocery store to prepare for all those holiday meals.

But, that Christmas dinner may be more expensive than ever this year, as a result of inflation.

They are feeling that at the Bon Bonerie bakery, where they are cranking out Santa Claus and Christmas tree cookies.

But, all their delicious cookies and cakes are not translating into profit this year. Co-owner Mary Pat Pace says she’s trying not to pass along her soaring costs to their customers.

“Every day, it seems the cost of things is so much more,” she said.

She says eggs are now “41 cents each. What they used to be was 10 cents each.” Even worse, she says, the price of vanilla tripled this year.

“Vanilla is $71 a gallon, which is crazy,” she said.

Overall, inflation slowed in November, which is a good sign going into the new year.

But, when it comes to holiday food staples — and not just baked goods — prices are still up sharply compared to last year.

The latest Consumer Price Index shows:

  • Flour is up 24.9 percent.
  • Butter is up 27 percent.
  • Cookies are up 19.2 percent.
  • Ham is up 7.8 percent.
  • Turkey is up 17.9 percent.

Tobie Stanger of Consumer Reports says to save money, consider store brands.

“Whether you have the most expensive stuffing in the turkey or the most expensive cheese is not going to make the meal,” Stanger said.

Speaking of cheese, she says to skip the pre-made cheese and vegetable trays.

“Cut the items up yourself and save yourself a lot of money,” she said.

Consumer Reports has other tips for holiday hosts:

  • Take advantage of offers for free hams and turkeys.
  • Grab the ads and circulars in stores to see what’s on sale.
  • Always check the unit price listed on the price tag.

Back at the Bon Bonerie, Mary Pat Pace says if you are baking desserts, expect to pay a lot more.

“You have to have vanilla,” she said. “You have to have good eggs.”

But you may want to ask your guests to pitch in by bringing sides and dessert, so you don’t waste your money.

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John Matarese

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