Holiday struggles: 1 in 4 Americans can only afford to spend $100 on Thanksgiving — or skip it altogether!

Holiday struggles: 1 in 4 Americans can only afford to spend $100 on Thanksgiving — or skip it altogether!

SAN FRANCISCO— Thanksgiving is usually a time for big family celebrations and lots of food, but a new survey reveals the struggling US economy is causing many Americans to cut back this year — or not celebrate at all!

In a survey commissioned by digital wealth management firm Personal Capital, one in four Americans say they skip Thanksgiving altogether in order to save money. One in three people host smaller dinner parties and 88% of them cut at least one dish from their table in order to make ends meet.

In 2021, the researchers note that an IPSOS survey found that nine out of 10 Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year, the new poll of 1,000 people found that number had fallen to just 74%. In fact, 47% say they celebrate “Friendsgiving” because of its more economical menu. Specifically, only 24% of Friendsgiving celebrations will even have a turkey on the table, with 33% opting for pizza instead!

Inflation and precariousness rain down on the Thanksgiving Parade

With many Americans struggling with higher prices at the grocery store, 52% are asking guests to bring an item to Thanksgiving dinner. Three in four ask guests to bring their own alcohol, while just under half (46%) ask people to provide dessert. Another 42% go even further by asking friends and family to help pay for the big meal.

Nearly six in 10 (57%) admit their Thanksgiving guest list is much smaller this year and 53% are cooking fewer meals. When it comes to who is cutting back the most, Gen Z respondents were the most likely to say they do these four things to cover the cost of Thanksgiving in 2022.

For those who have lost their jobs in the last year, the holidays can be even more difficult. The survey finds that fewer Americans who have lost their jobs (71%) say they will celebrate Thanksgiving compared to those who have continued to work (78%). However, those who have lost their jobs are significantly more likely to attend a Friendsgiving (55%) than employed Americans (38%).

Overall, 45% of people nationwide report feeling financially stressed by Thanksgiving 2022. Gen X Americans are the least stressed (33%) while Gen Z feels it the most (54%).

Thanksgiving budgets may be tighter than ever

In terms of dollars and cents, one in five Americans doubt they have enough money to afford a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year. Although 52% say they spend as much on holiday groceries, 33% cut the budget considerably.

In fact, 28% say they budget less than $100 for their Thanksgiving shopping. Nearly six in 10 (57%) plan to spend between $100 and $200 for their family reunion. Only 15% of Americans have more than $200 set aside for the holiday feast.

Although Gen Xers feel the least stressed this holiday season, 40% say they spend less than $100 on their Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe they just know the best ways to save money while shopping on a tight budget.

Respondents say the best things to do to save money are pay attention to deals (38%), use coupons (36%) and start shopping for holiday ingredients early (36%) . When it comes to entrees, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without turkey at the top of the list (36%), followed by gravy (35%), mashed potatoes (31%), stuffing (31%) and sweet potatoes (29%) .

If you’re wondering which dishes are most likely to go in order to save money this year, extra desserts, Brussels sprouts, squash and creamed spinach are all on the chopping block.



For this campaign, Personal Capital 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% Gen Y, 26% Gen X, and 13% Baby Boomers.

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