How Much Will Your Thanksgiving Meal Cost?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
My mother-in-law is a retired home economics teacher and a great cook! Thanksgiving in her home each year includes many traditional favorites. Of course the centerpiece is a beautifully roasted (on the grill) turkey surrounded by many delicious side dishes such as fluffy mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, three bean salad, homemade yeast rolls, a relish tray, molded strawberry Jello salad, cranberries, broccoli and rice casserole and sweet potato casserole. After dinner has settled, there is the difficult decision between homemade apple and pumpkin pie for dessert. Even using helpful tips to survive Thanksgiving temptations, the meal still causes most of us to end the day with an excessive caloric intake.

A recent report by the American Farm Bureau suggests this year's meal cost will only be slightly higher than last year. Although inflation rates have remained fairly flat, statistics show there has been a steady rise in the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving for nearly two decades. There is the option of enjoying a Veg-friendly Thanksgiving this year to save some money. However, if you are planning to put a traditional meal on your table here is some information to help you maintain your meal costs.

The Farm Bureau's shopping list included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, relish tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk to drink. They estimated their costs for a gathering of ten people with leftovers. Of course, the turkey was the largest expense costing almost eighteen dollars for a sixteen-pound bird. Even though turkey production is slightly down this year, prices are competitive and slightly less than last year so look for a bargain on your turkey.

Prices for a gallon of milk have slightly increased compared to last year including the price of evaporated milk. Coffee and onions have seen a slight price increase as well as commodities like sugar, flour, and butter which all add slightly to the increased meal costs this year so look for sales to help keep your costs down. The cost of peas and cubed dressing are also down and cranberry prices are unchanged so competitive prices should be easily found on these items.

Here are the average prices the Farm Bureau's 112 volunteer shoppers from 34 states found to help you use as you comparison shop to find great deals.

Turkey (16 pound) - $17.66

Whole milk (one gallon) - $3.24

Cream (half pint) - $1.70

Rolls (dozen) - $2.12

Relish tray (1 pound of carrots/celery) - $.77

Cranberries (12 oz fresh) - $2.41

Pumpkin pie mix (30 oz.) - $2.62

Pie shells (2) - $2.46

Stuffing (14 oz cubes) - $2.64

Sweet potatoes (3 lbs.) - $3.19

Green peas (1 lb.) - $1.44

If a traditional Thanksgiving meal is what you are interested in putting on your table this year, you may be able to do it for as little as $4.35/person, which is much less than a similar meal eating out. Using the average food costs shared from shoppers across the country and smart shopping strategies, you can offer a fresh, wholesome meal without breaking your budget.

What are you planning to serve for your holiday meal? Have you seen good sales at your grocery?