Where in the US Is Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Most Expensive (and Least)?

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It’s no secret that your Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings could be pricier this year. According to the latest USDA data, fresh turkey costs $1.14 per pound on average — 6.5% more than last year. Meanwhile, frozen turkey prices have gone up by 4.7%, from $1.06 to $1.11.

Learn: 5 Places To Find Pre-Cooked Thanksgiving Turkeys
Explore: 10 Best Costco Appetizers and Finger Foods To Buy for the Holidays

Some reports have the price of turkey pegged much higher. The Wall Street Journal said that fresh turkey breast meat could cost an average of $6.50 per pound this year.

Prices will also vary regionally. According to a new report from MoneyGeek, a whole, fresh turkey could cost an average of $4.43 in Washington D.C. and $4.34 in Boston. These are two of the most expensive cities to host a Thanksgiving dinner.

To find the most expensive U.S. cities to host Thanksgiving, the MoneyGeek team used data from the Council for Community and Economic Research as well as Instacart prices. To avoid overinflating the figures, the 15% average markup on Instacart was removed.

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In general, the report found, side dishes will be 5% more expensive, while turkeys will be 50% more expensive, in line with the Wall Street Journal figures.

The 5 Most Expensive Cities To Host Thanksgiving Dinner

The Boston metro area, which includes Cambridge and Newton, tops the charts at $170 for Thanksgiving dinner. The meal includes a 10-pound turkey, several sides that include mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, peas and corn, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Drinks include orange juice, cola, and coffee, as well as a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine. Several pantry staples to prepare the meal, such as flour, eggs, cheese, sugar, and cooking oil, also factored into the total cost.

After Boston, the most expensive cities to host Thanksgiving were as follows:

  • Urban Honolulu, HI ($164)
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ ($161)
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($157)
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($153)

The 5 Least Expensive Cities To Host Thanksgiving Dinner

On the other hand, you can pay under $100 for the same spread in several states:

  1. Kalamazoo-Portage, MI – $88
  2. Waco, TX – $93
  3. Oklahoma City, OK – $97
  4. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX – $97
  5. Killeen-Temple, TX – $97

If you’re looking to save money this season, consider cooking up some alternatives to a 10 lb. bird. You could serve fresh ham or spiral ham, roast chicken or even lasagna. If you refuse to go without a turkey on your table, consider a smaller turkey alongside another main dish option.

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See: Dollar General Thanksgiving Deals You Shouldn’t Pass Up Just Before Black Friday
Find: Can I Use MY SNAP EBT Card on Instacart?

To save on sides, shop your local farmers’ market for fresh, seasonal produce like squash and zucchini. But hurry — prices will only continue to go up as the big day approaches.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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