25% of Americans Will Skip Thanksgiving This Year to Save Money

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  • Inflation has been forcing consumers to give different things up.
  • For some people, Thanksgiving dinner could end up on the chopping block this November.
  • There are ways to save money on the holiday, such as by making your dinner a potluck, or skipping the alcohol. 

That's an upsetting thought.

Many people look forward to Thanksgiving not just for the food, but for the chance to gather with friends or loved ones and spend quality time together. But this year, a growing number of consumers may have no choice but to pass on Thanksgiving due to financial constraints. 

In a recent Personal Capital survey, 25% of Americans said they plan to skip Thanksgiving dinner this year in order to save money. But in reality, there are ways to cut back on spending significantly and still participate in a fun Thanksgiving meal.

Don't let inflation cancel your Thanksgiving

A big reason consumers are rethinking Thanksgiving this year is none other than inflation. Since the latter part of 2021, consumers have been forced to spend more on everything from food to utilities to apparel, and it's led many to deplete their savings and rack up scores of debt on their credit cards. If you're in that boat, then it's easy to see why you may be willing to just give up on Thanksgiving this year and save yourself the cost of a large meal.

But if gathering with friends and family is important to you, then it may be worth making some changes that allow you to host Thanksgiving dinner at a fraction of the cost. For one thing, you can make it a potluck. And if that's not what your friends and loved ones are used to and they push back accordingly, give them the option to host instead. Chances are, they'll back off immediately and graciously sign up for a side dish and dessert to bring along.

Having your guests contribute to your meal could cut down on your costs substantially. And if there are leftovers, you can all agree to split them evenly. 

Another good way to pull off a much less expensive Thanksgiving? Don't serve alcohol. If you normally buy six bottles of wine at roughly $12 a pop, that's $72 right there. If your guests really want alcohol, have them bring their own. It's certainly a reasonable compromise.

Finally, consider going light on appetizers and dessert. When it comes to Thanksgiving, dinner is generally the main event. And while it's okay to offer some apple or pumpkin pie afterward, don't feel compelled to have seven different desserts out on display. At that point, you and your guests will probably be so stuffed that no one wants more than a sliver of something sweet.

It pays to pivot

If you're frustrated with the fact that life has gotten so expensive, then it's easy to see why you may be inclined to skip Thanksgiving this year. But before you go to that extreme, think about the different ways you can make your current circumstances work without having to miss out on the holiday. 

Remember, Thanksgiving isn't just about the food. It's about being together. And even if money is so tight that all you can swing is a small turkey and a couple of sides, you're better off enjoying that with the people you care about than skipping the holiday outright.

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