LAS VEGAS - Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pies - the Thanksgiving shopping list can be lengthy, and the grocery bill can be expensive.
Billie Hillier runs the consumer blog Frugal Ferret. She says the trick to getting a great meal on the table, without breaking the bank, is preparation. Once you know what you want to make, start looking for deals – beginning with weekly mailers.
"Some people just toss them. Keep these. Go through them and find the best prices for the items you need," she said. "If you don't want to go store to store to find the best prices, take them to a store that will do ad comparison."
"When I ad match at my favorite stores, I save anywhere from fifty to eighty percent," she said.
Shoppers should also be mindful of the produce they buy. "If you want to save money and time in preparing your holiday meal, sometimes canned is cheaper and easier to go than fresh or frozen," she said.
As you plan your shopping list for pies and cookies, consider buying ingredients that can be used beyond the winter holidays.
"Now's the time that I stock up on my baking items for the next few months. November/December are some of the best months to stock up on flour, sugar, baking morsels, chocolate, cocoa and other items that I will be using throughout the spring," Hillier said.
Before you hit that checkout counter, make sure you have all your coupons. This time of year is the best time to find coupons in the Sunday paper. You can also find coupons online that you can download and print.
"These are manufacturer coupons. You can also print store coupons from each store's website. Most of the time, you can stack those together, so one store coupon with one manufacturer coupon," Hillier said.
Don't forget instant coupons found in stores. "This is called a ‘peely', because you can peel the coupon off. Look for boxes of food that have these on them, because that is instant savings without clippings," Hillier said.
She suggests following your favorite store or retailer on Facebook or Twitter. You can also sign-up for coupons to be e-mailed to you.
Several smart phone apps can help you save money. Many reward you when you hit a certain threshold of spending.
Don't forget about dollar and drug stores, which sometimes offer the best deals on aluminum roasting pans and spices.