Thanksgiving Meal Costs Rise Slightly

Author: Jeffrey Strain
Published: November 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

A Thanksgiving meal is still quite a bargain at less than $5 per person in 2012. A family can expect to pay $49.48 this year to purchase a classic Thanksgiving meal for ten people according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBA), a $0.28 increase from 2011. The less than 1% increase is much less than the one in 2011 when there was a 13% increase in Thanksgiving meal prices.

The calculated costs for the meal were for all the typical ingredients needed for a classic Thanksgiving dinner for ten. These ingredients include a 16 lb turkey with stuffing and basic trimmings, pumpkin pie and cranberries.

The price reflects what the average shopper looking for the best deals could find without resorting to using grocery coupons or store promotional sales such as spending $75 to get a free turkey. There were 155 AFBA volunteer shoppers in 35 states who participated by searching for the best prices in their area. Their totals were averaged together to come up with the total meal price. While not scientific, this ongoing study gives an informal gauge of Thanksgiving price trends across the U.S.

With the largest cost of the Thanksgiving meal being the turkey at $22.23, savvy shoppers willing to look for promotional deals such as finding free turkeys, or waiting until the last minute when prices typical fall, can greatly reduce the overall expense of the meal. For those who aren't willing to put in the time it takes to actually cook a full Thanksgiving meal from scratch, the AFBA notes that there are a large number of grocery stores and restaurants which offer a ready-made Thanksgiving meal in the $50 to $75 range. While slightly more expensive than cooking the meal yourself, the time savings can be well worth it for many.

(Image Source: AFBA)


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Article Author: Jeffrey Strain

Jeffrey is a professional blogger and digital nomad whose writing focuses on personal finance and saving people money. His main website is

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