Cost of Thanksgiving dinner went up but only just

Thanksgiving Dinner

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner has gone up this year, to $49.48, though that’s an increase of less than 30 cents over last year so most shouldn’t notice it. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Most people put on the traditional Thanksgiving spread on the holiday of turkey, sweet potatoes and so on. This year, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner is more than last year, but the increase is so slight that it’s actually less than inflation.

Cost of Thanksgiving dinner barely increased

Inflation is a fact of life; every year, more dollars are introduced into the economy, which means that each dollar is worth a little less and the prices of things go up ever so slightly. Commodities only get more expensive in real terms if wages don’t rise with inflation and these days, they usually don’t.

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner, for instance, has gotten a bit more expensive for this year. The cost of Thanksgiving dinner 2012 is, according to USA Today, $49.48, compared to the $49.20 cost of Thanksgiving dinner 2011. That’s an increase of just 0.5 percent.

An increase of one-half of one percent is not too bad; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index inflation was 2.2 percent as of October of this year. An extra 28 cents isn’t likely to send many people running for personal loans, is it?

Bird is the word

The annual estimate for the cost of Thanksgiving dinner is prepared, pardon the pun, by the American Farm Bureau Federation, which gets bandied about the press and the interwebs, which are, as we know, a series of tubes invented by Al Gore. This year’s basket of goods, as it were, only had two items which went up in price.

The basket of goods, in effect a consumer index in miniature, consists of one 16-pound turkey, 12 rolls, two pie shells, 30 ounces of pumpkin pie filling, 8 ounces of whipped cream, 14 ounces of stuffing, one-half pound each of carrots and celery for a tray, 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, one gallon of whole milk and 12 ounces of cranberries, enough to feed 10 people.

For the record, regular potatoes and every component of green bean casserole, staples, really, were left out. Harrumph.

Turkey and rolls got more expensive, increasing from $21.57 and $2.30, for a 16-pound bird and 12-pack of rolls, respectively, to $22.23 and $2.33, increases of 3.1 percent and 1.3 percent. The carrots and celery, at 76 cents, didn’t change and everything else decreased in price.

Last year was worse

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner in 2011 was a real shocker, compared to this year. In that year, according to the Los Angeles Times, the price spiked 13 percent over 2010, rising from $43.47 for the same basket of goods in 2010 to $49.20 in 2011.

There are, however, a few ways to beat the price spike. Since every single item is available year round, buy the non-perishables before dinner when they are cheaper and at that, one can also buy the turkey earlier too and just leave it in the freezer.


USA Today

Los Angeles Times


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