Expert shares money-saving tips as inflation makes Thanksgiving dinner more expensive

Food economist and MSU associate professor David Ortega joined CultureShift to share his money-saving tips for the holidays.

Thanksgiving Day dinner

Inflation is the highest it’s been in nearly 40 years. Most people aren’t prepared for the double-digit increase in food costs. 

David Ortega is a food economist and associate professor at Michigan State University. He says this year there are several factors that contribute to the rise in food prices.

“We have the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic on supply chains,” Ortega said in an interview during CultureShift. “That led to a rise in transportation costs, energy costs, labor costs. And then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sends commodity prices surging for things like grain and vegetable oil.”

When headed to the store this year, customers will see a price increase of nearly 17 percent for turkeys compared to a year ago.

Despite the rise in costs, Ortega shares ways to save a few bucks this year.

“It might be time to get a little bit creative,” Ortega says. “You can host a potluck-style gathering, where you have family and friends contribute a side dish or an item for the meal just to sort of help spread the cost of the meal amongst the guests or the family.”

Ortega suggests people try buying the store brands versus national brands, as well as shopping around to find the best price for your budget.

Listen to the interview with Ortega in its entirety at the top of the page.

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  • Tia Graham

    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.