With just about a week 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 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 this year, all their delicious cookies and cakes are not translating into profit. 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. She said she used to pay 10 cents for each egg. Even worse, she says, the price of vanilla tripled this year.
"Vanilla is $171 a gallon, which is crazy," she said.
Overall, inflation slowed in November, which is a good sign going into the new year.
However, when it comes to holiday food staples, prices are still up sharply compared to last year.
The latest Consumer Price Index shows:
- Flour is up 24.9%
- Butter is up 27%
- Cookies are up 19.2%
- Ham is up 7.8%
- Turkey is up 17.9%
While saving money will be tougher this year, experts say people can reduce their grocery bills by purchasing store brands.
"Whether you have the most expensive stuffing in the turkey or the most expensive cheese is not gonna make the meal," said Tobie Stanger of Consumer Reports, "it's going to be the camaraderie."
Stanger said skipping pre-made cheese and vegetable trays will also save money.
"You can make a little bit more effort and just cut them 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 circulars to see what's on sale
- Always check the unit price listed on the price tag
Hosts can also ask guests to pitch in by bringing sides and dessert, so you don't waste your money.
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