In a cornucopia of inflation, here’s what to expect this Thanksgiving.
Americans are preparing for a costlier holiday season as inflation continues to rise at historic rates. Already struggling with a higher bill at the grocery store checkout, many Americans are rethinking their Thanksgiving feast – with some choosing to skip the gathering altogether. Personal Capital surveyed 1,000 Americans to find out how they’re preparing for and altering their Thanksgiving plans to avoid going bust over that big, golden bird.*
1 in 4 Americans plan to skip Thanksgiving this year to save money.
More than one-third of Americans will have smaller dinners this Thanksgiving.
More than 1 in 4 Americans will budget up to $100 for their 2022 Thanksgiving dinner.
88% of Americans are cutting at least one dish from their Thanksgiving table this year to save money.
Thanksgiving in Today’s Economy
With financial strain and tightened budgets, Americans may have to prioritize what matters most during the season of gratitude. A 2021 IPSOS survey found that 9 in 10 Americans planned to celebrate Thanksgiving last year. But our survey found that this year, only around 7 in 10 had plans to do so.
Pass the turkey pizza?
For many, the increased financial strain comes not only from inflation but also from job insecurity. Over half of those surveyed reported losing their job within the past 12 months (53%). And unsurprisingly, those who did were less likely to plan on celebrating Thanksgiving this year. However, they were significantly more likely to celebrate Friendsgiving, which seems to come with a more budget-friendly menu. Only 24% of Friendsgiving celebrators planned on having turkey, an item that’s sure to be more pricey this year compared to last. Instead, pizza was the top choice (33%).
Hosting With (Less Than) the Most
While some Americans are saving money by skipping Thanksgiving completely, others are finding alternative ways to shrink the budget. How are holiday hosts planning to cover Thanksgiving’s cornucopia of costs?
Many of this year’s Thanksgiving hosts are keeping things simple and affordable by sharing the load. Over half of respondents planned to keep gatherings small, make fewer dishes, and ask guests to bring something to the table. Another 42% were willing to ask guests to pitch in money for the meal. Gen Zers were the most likely to use all four strategies to keep costs down, while baby boomers were the least likely to ask guests to provide food, drinks, or money.
As for what hosts will ask guests to bring, 75% said alcoholic beverages. With the cost of alcohol increasing and the expectation that it will be part of the spread, hosts may be wise to ask guests to BYOB.
The Cost of Thanksgiving
Whether hosts plan to foot the bill or ask their guests to pitch in, most will need at least a rough budget to get all that food on the table. How much are Americans planning to spend this year, and have their budgets changed since 2021?
Despite inflation and job uncertainty, 52% of Americans said they plan on spending the same amount of money on this year’s Thanksgiving as they did last year. Only 33% expected to spend less this year, and 15% expected to spend more. Most Americans placed their Thanksgiving budget within $101-$200. Gen Xers were most likely to keep a tight budget of $100 or less (40%), and baby boomers were most likely to break the bank with a budget of $201 or more (20%).
Beating Inflation for Thanksgiving 2022
Regardless of your Thanksgiving budget, inflation has made stretching your hard-earned cash more important than ever. What strategies are Americans using this year to make their money go further?
When it comes to stretching grocery budgets, bargain shopping topped the list for turkey day this year. Over a third of respondents said they plan to either pay attention to deals or use coupons. Another 36% said they’ll shop early, likely to avoid food price hikes as the holiday draws closer and supplies run low. Nearly 1 in 3 planned to compare prices or buy in bulk. Cutting down the menu was another top budget-saving strategy, with 88% of Americans planning to omit at least one typical dish from the menu this year.
No matter what, some Thanksgiving dinners won’t be complete without a few core items. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, and green beans all made the top 12 dishes Americans would never cut from the menu. However, most vegetables were far less important, landing in the bottom 12. Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials were the most traditional, each listing turkey, gravy, and either mashed potatoes or rolls as the top three dishes they would never cut from Thanksgiving dinner. Gen Zers preferred a lighter meal, listing soup, salad, and sweet potatoes as their top three must-haves.
Affording the Holidays
As the holidays creep closer and food prices continue to rise, this year’s food-centered festivities may require an extra focus on finances. Some hosts are tightening their budgets by trimming the guest list, editing the menu, or asking for contributions. Others are skipping the holiday altogether.
Whether you decide to forgo the festivities or join the party, remember what the holidays are about: being together. No matter what you celebrate, holidays are a time to be with those you care about and refocus your life on what matters most to you – and no amount of inflation can take that out of the budget.
For this campaign, we surveyed 1,000 Americans to explore their plans for Thanksgiving this year. Among them, 56% were men, and 44% were women. The generational breakdown was 25% Gen Z, 36% millennials, 26% Gen X, and 13% baby boomers.
For short, open-ended questions, outliers were removed. To help ensure all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question. The margin of error is plus or minus 3% with a 95% confidence interval.
About Personal Capital
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