There might be no better bargain on American dining tables than the Thanksgiving feast.
In fact, it can cost less person — and likely is healthier — than typical fast-food fare.
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Feed 10 With Leftovers for $4.89 a Person
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 34th annual survey of classic Thanksgiving items, the average cost this year for 10 people is $48.91 — less than $5 per person. This is a 1-cent increase from last year’s average of $48.90.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” said AFBF chief economist Dr. John Newton. “Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world. … “
According to lendedu.com, a survey of 1,000 American adults indicated they would spend on average significantly more for the Thanksgiving meal: $152.56. Toss in travel expenses and the average tab came to $186.05.
Meanwhile, CNBC checked out chains like Aldi, Costco, and Walmart. It found that you could whip up Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people for less than $50. Aldi came in lowest at $34.44.
Watch: How to Save on Food
Turkey Is Lowest Price Since 2010
The centerpiece on many Thanksgiving tables — a turkey — costs a little less than last year, at $20.80 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.30 per pound — the lowest since 2010.
The Farm Bureau’s menu also includes stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee, and milk. The shopping list aims to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
Despite the growing popularity of prepared foods, 92% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving at home or at a family member’s home. Most cook their entire meal at home, according to the survey.
The website moneywise.com says, “Millennials are the age group least likely to do all of their Thanksgiving cooking at home. Among 20- to 30-somethings, 19% say they’ll rely on store-bought or restaurant food for part of the meal.”
How the Survey Was Conducted
More than 250 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 38 states for the survey. The volunteers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.