By Bev O'Shea /
November 25, 2015

The price for a traditional turkey and trimmings crossed the $50 mark for the first time this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Here’s what they had on the menu designed to feed 10 people: a 16-pound turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk. It came to $50.11, or 70 cents more than last year’s total.

Turkey was most of the reason for the increase (read here to understand why), but prices were falling as the holiday grew closer. So, if you haven’t bought your bird yet, you may be able to get a deal — and that’s one more thing to be thankful for. (If you are buying a frozen turkey, however, you may not want to wait any longer; it needs time to thaw.)

Even if turkeys aren’t marked down, it’s pretty hard to beat an all-you-can-eat buffet for about $5 a person that could leave some leftovers for the weekend’s football games.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” American Farm Bureau Federation Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said in a press release.

Even if you haven’t done (and aren’t looking to do) much prep, you may still be able to pull off a traditional meal at a reasonable cost. My local grocery store was selling a pre-cooked meal for seven to 10 people for $44.99. It included a 10- to 12-pound turkey, gravy, cranberry-orange relish, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing and something called “marshmallow delight.” Of course, you’d be on your own for the pie, whipped cream and beverages, but you would save significantly on time.

You may also be able to reduce the cost of your Thanksgiving dinner by working with in-season produce, shopping locally and utilizing the spices already in your cabinet.

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