Here’s What Americans Plan to Spend on Thanksgiving Dinner. How Does Your Budget Compare?

A smiling family seated around a Thanksgiving table full of food.

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It’s not too early to start strategizing for Thanksgiving — and making adjustments as needed.


Important points

  • Americans are making Thanksgiving changes as the cost of living increases.
  • If money is tight, consider making your holiday dinner a potluck or asking guests to bring their own alcohol.
  • Another way to save money on Thanksgiving is to trade in cheaper side dishes.

Today, consumers are forced to make difficult choices as inflation rears its ugly head. As the cost of everything from utilities to rent to clothing skyrockets, many people are changing their spending habits to avoid ending up in credit card debt.

Some of these changes could impact the holiday season this year. In a recent Personal Capital survey, 34% of respondents said they expect their 2022 Thanksgiving gathering to be smaller. And 53% plan to cook fewer dishes.

If money is tight in your world, it might pay off to scale back your Thanksgiving plans. Otherwise, you could end up with a pile of debt to start the new year with.

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What is the cost for you for Thanksgiving dinner in November?

The amount you spend on hosting a Thanksgiving dinner depends on various factors such as: B. the number of guests you welcome into your home and the specific dishes you serve. But it might interest you that despite inflation, Americans seem to have a pretty healthy budget for Thanksgiving.

Personal Capital reports that 28% of people estimate they will spend up to $100 on Thanksgiving this year, while 57% said they will spend between $101 and $200. And 15% of people expect to spend more than $200 on a Thanksgiving meal.

If even the lowest of these numbers seems high to you, don’t worry. Instead, be honest with your guests and find ways to have a fun, fabulous meal for less.

How to cut down on Thanksgiving and still make it great

Skipping turkey on Thanksgiving might not be a route you want to take. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to get a good meal at a lesser price.

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For one thing, you should rethink your pages. If you usually finish your Thanksgiving dinner with a full tray of untouched filling, this year make less or no filling.

Similarly, think of dishes that inherently contain lower-cost ingredients. Roast potatoes or mashed potatoes might be a good option. And this should not be an expensive dish.

And if money is tight, don’t hesitate to ask your guests to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner. That doesn’t mean you have $15 each to enter at Venmo. Instead, assign each guest a side or dessert to bring. Not only does this help you save a little money, but it also means you spend less time in the kitchen.

Finally, if your guests expect alcohol, make your Thanksgiving meal a BYOB affair. Buying one bottle of wine instead of six could make a world of difference to your finances.

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While it’s unfortunate that inflation has such a huge impact on most people’s personal finances, the good news is that it doesn’t have to ruin your Thanksgiving dinner. And who knows? While being frugal, you might even discover some delicious side dishes that are far tastier than the more expensive alternatives you used to serve up.

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