Here’s what Americans plan to spend on Thanksgiving dinner. How does your budget compare?

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It’s not too early to start strategizing for Thanksgiving and making the necessary adjustments.


Key points

  • Americans are making changes to Thanksgiving in the wake of the rising cost of living.
  • If you’re short on cash, consider making your holiday meal a potluck or asking your guests to bring their own alcohol.
  • Another way to save money on Thanksgiving is to swap out cheaper side dishes.

These days, consumers are forced to make tough choices as inflation looms large. With the cost of everything from utilities to rent to clothing, 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 Thanksgiving gathering to be smaller in 2022. And 53% plan to cook fewer dishes.

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

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How much will Thanksgiving dinner cost you in November?

How much you spend hosting Thanksgiving dinner depends on a variety of factors, such as the number of guests you’re hosting in your home and the specific dishes you’re serving. But you might be interested to know that despite inflation, Americans seem to have a pretty healthy Thanksgiving budget.

Personal Capital reports that 28% of people estimated they would spend up to $100 on Thanksgiving this year, while 57% said they would 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 cook a fun and fabulous meal on the cheap.

How to Cut Thanksgiving While Making It Awesome

Giving up turkey on Thanksgiving might not be a route you want to take. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to achieve a great meal for less.

For one thing, rethink your sides. If you usually end your Thanksgiving dinner with a full platter of stuffing intact, do less this year or do no stuffing at all.

Likewise, consider dishes that naturally contain less expensive ingredients. Roasted or mashed potatoes could be a great option. And it shouldn’t be an expensive dish to whip up.

Also, if you’re short on cash, don’t hesitate to ask your guests to attend Thanksgiving dinner. That doesn’t mean that Venmo costs you $15 each to participate. Instead, assign each guest a side dish or dessert to bring. Not only will this help you save a little money, but it will also mean that you will spend less time working in the kitchen.

Finally, make your Thanksgiving meal a BYOB affair if your guests are expecting booze. Buying one bottle of wine instead of six could make a huge difference to your finances.

While it’s unfortunate that inflation has such a big impact on most people’s personal finances, the good news is that it doesn’t have to ruin your Thanksgiving dinner. And who knows? By being frugal, you may even discover delicious sides that are much tastier than the more expensive alternatives you were serving before.

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