How Did You Do During the Thanksgiving Holiday?

thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving has come and gone (at least, if you’re living in the United States). After every Thanksgiving holiday, we seem to have less money than when the holiday started. Spending time with family and friends is a wonderful time. Now it’s time to see how you did financially and whether you’ve done better than the average family in the U.S.

My time during the Thanksgiving holiday was fun! I’m in a completely new city and the family that I’m AirBnBing from invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them. I got to meet their family and ate some delicious food. There was one fiasco where the turkey was burned and the mashed potato turned into potato soup because of overheating, but the fiascos are what makes the holidays fun.

Because my meal was cooked for me, I didn’t spend any money during Thanksgiving! I offered to help out and bring something but they insisted that since I was a guest, that wasn’t necessary. I’ve done very well in the spending department this year. Find out if you beat the average spending trends this year.

The Average Family Spends $50 for a 10-Person Meal

This one shocked me. The family that I spent Thanksgiving with had everything. Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, 2 turkeys, turkey stuffing, bread, salad, pecan pie, and ice cream for desert. Of course, I’m not the type to calculate how much each of those entrees cost but I find it hard to believe that it only cost $50.

$50 for 10 people is $5 per person. It means that it’s possible to take care of a big meal with just $5. Looking back at the last 10 meals that I spent on, it surprisingly comes out to more than $50. The power of buying in bulk is realized especially during the holidays. 

The Average Shopper Spends $300 on Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s time for the deals to happen! I’ve gotten 10+ promotional emails from different retailers telling me about all of the things that I could save money on. From clothing to web hosting deals, it seems like every store had some sort of promotional sales going on. With one-time price slashes, shoppers are induced to spend hundreds of dollars to acquire stuff.

I’m doing very well in this category because I’ve only spend a total of $10.81 for an ugly sweater Christmas party that’s coming up soon. I was looking to buy a suit because I only have 2 so far but I will be saving that for another day. Cash has been tight in my budget this time of year, which I will detail later a post.

However, if there was a time to splurge and spend more than the normal, it’s around this time of the year. Deals have never been more lucrative! Just make sure you don’t buy so much stuff that you drown in them in your own house.

Store Credit Card Signups Spike During Thanksgiving 

According to TransUnion, more shoppers are signing up for store credit cards during the holidays. The number of people with store credit cards rose from 123.7MM in December 2014 to 125.3MM in September of 2016. That’s a huge increase. I’m a big fan of credit cards because they pay me to spend money. Credit cards also give me an extra month to pay off my bills.

The extra month that I get to pay off my bills has made all the difference in my life because I’m going to have a huge cash crunch in the coming months. I have to figure out how to solve that problem but I will leave that for another post.

While I am a huge proponent of credit cards, I’m a huge opponent of store credit cards. The benefits you reap from them are limited. The return you get is only realized if  you make the store richer by buying more stuff from them. They only make sense if the store has everything that you may want to buy later down the road.

For example, I have a 3% Amazon cash back card because they carry almost everything that I would need on the planet. Because I frequent the store oftentimes, it makes sense. However, I would never get a Gap credit card or an American Eagle credit card.


Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to catch up with your family and friends and rest your feet up in your desk and relax. I know that I needed the time off. I don’t know what it is but recently, life has seemed to become more hectic than I wanted it to be. Even as life becomes more hectic, I won’t lose sight of the goal. The holidays are when business want to be in the black and I won’t support the businesses to be in the black. 

Businesses understand that we, as consumers, love to be a little loose with our purses and wallets during the holidays. I mean, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for pete’s sake! Splurging a little around the holidays certainly isn’t a bad thing, especially because there’s a plethora of deals going on. But spending much more than the average can be a huge detriment down the road. 

Readers, how was your Thanksgiving holiday? Was it relaxing and easy on the wallet / purse? What about spending time with friends and family? Let me know in the comments below!

Finance Solver

I grew my net worth to $40,000 as a college student through hard work, discipline, and a little bit of luck. I graduated college in 2016 and will be starting to plan for my retirement once I start working.I am planning on reaching financial independence by my early 30's and I will document my moments of inspiration all the way to desperation here.

My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!

Read more about me here.

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7 thoughts on “How Did You Do During the Thanksgiving Holiday?

  1. Sounds like you had some great hosts and wonderful food!

    Our Thanksgiving was sooo relaxing. My husband took the week off and it was absolutely amazing just to be at home. We played a ton of fun games – Monopoly and Yahtzee were among the most played. We spent very little since we only contributed one dish to the meal.

    • Thanks Amanda! They were really nice hosts. Much better than spending Thanksgiving without company 🙂

      Nice! I think I also saw your post about not going out to shop on Friday which I think is a very noble goal among personal finance enthusiasts. I must say after the break, I was so ready to be working again.

  2. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving, and yes, those fiascos make for great memories. Haha.

    We spent the weekend with my side of the family and spent plenty on food and a trip to Coeur d’Alene, ID for a holiday parade and light show (which I highly recommend by the way). 🙂 All well spent in my opinion. But I’m happy to say we avoided the holiday shopping/Black Friday madness.

    • Thanks Kelsey, I appreciate that a lot! Ooooh those sound like very eventful events for thanksgiving! I’ve never been to a Thanksgiving parade, hmm..

      I’m so happy that I avoided that too! Data shows that consumers are more than comfortable now making purchases on their smartphones / laptops. A lot of retail footprint traffic has decreased to make room for convenience and I expect it to be like that going forward.

  3. Very little spent here as we spent most of the week trapping to relatives houses for dinners and bringing back leftovers. So gas on my economy car is about it. Purchases for Christmas are still to come. We did contribute a turkey to Thanksgiving dinner but it was free from the grocery store.

  4. The meal wasn’t expensive, but, we did take advantage of some Cyber Monday deals to finish our Christmas shopping list. Although, we didn’t as many good deals as we wanted so we did hold off from making several purchases.

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