Have you handled your big Thanksgiving Day shop yet? To be fair, it might still be a bit early to start defrosting that turkey, sure. But to be unfair, you also might just be lazy. The problem is, grocery stores also know your shopping habits, and according to a recent Consumer Reports article, they can sometimes use this knowledge against you.
One of Consumer Reports’ tidbits is pretty straightforward: The early bird gets the worm. “[Grocery stores] know plenty of people are going to be shopping the weekend before and the week of Thanksgiving,” explained Annette Economides who runs the website Money Smart Family with her husband, Steve. “So now the sales happen earlier in the season.” That advice makes sense: As anyone who has done their Thanksgiving shopping at a convenience store on Thursday at 6 p.m. will tell you, you’re going to pay more when you shop last minute. As a result, the suggestion is that if you can do your shopping by this weekend at the latest, you’ll be in better shape than if you put it off until next week.
But another piece of advice has more nefarious implications. Though grocery stores will continue to try to lure holiday shoppers away from the competition with decent Thanksgiving deals, they apparently will sometimes attempt to pull in some extra scratch by jacking up prices on non-Thanksgiving items. “It’s the worst time of the year to buy all the other food,” Steve Economides told Consumer Reports. “If you want a steak that week, you’re going to pay through the nose.” So much for your idea of a “tur-steak-en”!
Annette says there is at least one exception: Though she doesn’t explain why, according to her research, ham is apparently cheaper around Thanksgiving than around Christmas. But in general, the moral is to keep your Thanksgiving shopping to Thanksgiving items and maybe save your filet mignon dinner for early December.