Putting on a Thanksgiving feast is 70 cents more expensive this year. As my colleague Martha White noted last week, American families can expect to spend $50.11 to feed 10 in 2015, up from last year’s average of $49.41, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
If you spring for a 16-pound bird, the turkey alone will cost an average of $23.04. But AFBF’s calculations also include stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, pumpkin pie, beverages, and “plenty for leftovers.”
So when you think about it, $50.11 is actually a great deal. That’s just $5.01 per person for a huge meal. (Good luck finding a Subway footlong at that price anymore!) Plus, if you’re indeed able to squeeze another meal from the leftovers—turkey sandwiches for lunch on Friday, say—the per-person cost of the meal may be closer to $2.50.
Americans don’t usually eat so well on so little money. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average household spends $6,759 a year on food, or almost $19 a day.
Where is that money going? Americans spend an average of $2,787 a year on food away from home. The richer you are, the more you usually splurge: The top 10% of earners spend an average of $6,716 a year just on eating out, more than the average household spends on all food.
So if that pricey turkey is giving you sticker shock, look at it this way: You could actually save money if you ate like this all the time. Your waistline, however, would be another matter.
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