A year after America’s most expensive Thanksgiving, high inflation continues to impact middle and lower class American families.
One analysis shows the average household spent $709 more in July 2023 than two years ago to buy the same goods and services.
Notably, the increased financial burden on Thanksgiving celebrations comes even amidst a drop in turkey prices due to a widespread decrease in avian influenza. The American Farm Bureau Federation observes that overall Thanksgiving dinner costs are down 4.5% in comparison to 2022, but are still 25% higher than Thanksgiving in 2019.
In dollar amounts, the average Thanksgiving dinner in 2023 will cost $61.17 – $2.88 lower than last year, but $7.86 higher than 2021.
Inflation is taking a chunk out of Americans’ wallets over more than just food, however.
According to the Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $100 in November of 2018 would have had the same buying power as $122.07 now.
Thanksgiving week brings with it a flurry of Black Friday deals, sales, and marketing campaigns centered on encouraging shoppers to make immediate purchases. After another year of high interest rates and unrelenting inflation, the status of Black Friday is setting some retailers on edge.
In August, Target reported its first quarterly sales decline in six years, noting that customers are pulling back from purchasing even grocery items.
“Retailers are a bit nervous, and they know it’s going to be a challenging holiday season,” Neil Saunders, GlobalData managing director, told TIME. “They want to pull in people to shop now, because if they leave it too late, they’re afraid customers may go elsewhere.”
Though Americans are finding themselves with increasingly less spare change to allocate for the holidays, many are undeterred. In October, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that U.S. collective credit card debt hit a record high in summer of 2023 at over $1 trillion.
Some financial commentators point to the COVID-era government response as the catalyst of the modern inflation crisis, as supply chain issues drove prices up and Americans fueled by stimulus checks and lockdown boredom continued to shop.
The U.S. Federal Reserve set interest rates low during the pandemic to encourage spending, but Americans are now struggling with the cost of living while facing both price inflation and the high interest rates set to combat them.