Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving: Planning Your Shopping

Thanksgiving is now just one week away. You've got your shopping list ready. Now what? In my area, and probably yours, grocery sales change on Thursdays. I get the ads in my mailbox on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you don't normally get the ads, you can find your store's sales flyer on its website.

Today my sales flyers came in the mail. I pulled out Sunday's Target ad and compared all the prices for my shopping list. As usual, not every item on my list was featured in every ad. Due to this year's pumpkin shortage, canned pumpkin wasn't listed in any ads. If you live in the Chicago area and haven't compared the ads, I've done some of the work for you. I've plugged prices from Jewel, Dominick's, Aldi, Target, and Peapod delivery into a handy spreadsheet. (Edited to add Garden Fresh Market prices.) Please note that the turkey prices for Jewel and Dominick's are based on making a separate $20 purchase.

For me, this year's shopping decisions are easy. I have $25 in Catalinas to redeem at Jewel. $10 expires on Saturday, the others on Thanksgiving. The key for me will be to maximize what I get for $20 so I can get the cheapest turkey option. My Thanksgiving list alone actually doesn't get me to $20 unless I buy multiples of several items, so I'll be supplementing with items I need to bake cookies in December.

If you want to shop around, the best frozen turkey price is at Jewel at $.37 a pound for Jennie-O frozen with a $20 purchase. If you don't want to spend $20, Target has store-brand turkeys at $.68 per pound. You can make that an even better deal if you happen to need a roaster. Target will give you a $15 gift card if you buy both bird and roaster.

Real sweet potatoes are a steal for $.28 a pound at Jewel. If you're really strapped for time you can use canned, but real sweet potatoes aren't difficult to make and you'll get 4 pounds of them for the same price as a single 29 oz can. You just need a volunteer who doesn't mind peeling them!

So pull out your ads and figure out your strategy! I suggest buying canned goods early. If you're going with a frozen turkey, you can buy that now too. If you're going to shop at multiple stores, try not to make more than one dedicated shopping trip. It's not a savings if you drive miles out of your way to save $.10 on cranberries. If you stop at a store on your way home from somewhere else, you won't spend extra gas.

And the last step before going shopping? Clean your refrigerator! Make room for next week's goodies by eating any leftovers and making sure each shelf is optimized to give you all the room you'll need to put away the food you're buying.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Sweet potatoes don't even need to be peeled! You can cut them with skins on and then after they boil and become soft, the peel comes right off. :)