Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Average...

Picture this...

You have a Barefoot Hippie Girl on a spinner. Her Barefoot Hippie partner (aka Mr. Hippe) is on the bike next to her. We are dutifully doing tri training. Somebody is sweating like a pig, and it wouldn't be the partner. 'Cause guys never sweat when it's important.

It is 5:15 in the morning.

And we are getting our weekly dose of television.

You gotta love these perky people who can get up and do a morning show. All happy and perky and...spouting off bits of nonsense.

Things like your average host for Thanksgiving this year is going to spend $250.

In case you think I am making this up, a similar news report (here) quoting same study.

I am going shopping today for my family of 6 (which averages out to 6 adult portions-already). For two weeks. And I'm not going to spend $250.

This shopping trip will cover 2 pies for a wedding rehearsal dinner. A turkey, stuffing, cranberry salad, and thoroughbred pie for Thanksgiving. A ham. Toilet paper. A family dinner-at which I am planning to feed about 30 people. A potluck. And dinner with company at least twice. Plus breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the rest of two weeks.

Which leads me to wonder just what they are eating (or drinking) at this average feast. And how many people they are feeding at this feast.

Because, I'd guess that the number of people at most gatherings is about 10 ($25 a head). But, let's say it is 20 ($12.50 a head).

I shop sales. I shop at three stores for the best deals. I don't use coupons. But I sure could buy a lot for $25 a head. Or even $12.50 a head.

Like, in Barefoot Hippie Girl budget terms, this is prime rib territory.

I will be buying my turkey today on sale. It will be store brand. We know a ton of people who work at the turkey processing plants here in town. Same turkeys. Same plant. Different packaging. It will cost me right around $0.45 a pound. I try for an 18-20 pound bird. Which easily feeds 18-20 people. The turkey rule of thumb is one pound per person. My bird should be less than $10.

I am also making a pie with chocolate and nuts and brandy. I already have the brandy. I have to buy nuts. They will cost about $5-less for the amount I am using. Baking chocolate-name brand, nonetheless, costs about $3-probably $1 for the amount I need. Whipping cream will cost about $1.50. Crust is less than a dollar because I will be making it myself. Add 3 eggs for 50 cents. We will estimate a generous $8 for the pie. ($16 for 2)

Cranberry salad takes a can of crushed pineapple (89 cents), one pound of fresh cranberries ($2) a banana, whipped topping (99 cents) and mini marshmallows (99 cents). Probably just over $5 with the banana.

Stuffing-oh stuffing. Loaf of good italian bread ($2), sage sausage ($2.50) apple, celery, onion, garlic (less than $2 for all). Butter and eggs ($2). Combined total of $8.50 for stuffing.

I am not making the vegetable-but if I was, it would be green bean casserole. Less than $12 for enough for 20 people.

Potatoes would be around $5. Rolls-homemade, would cost less than $3. Throw in a relish tray and some cranberry jelly, and I could probably hike the cost up another $5-$6.

Total cost to feed 20 people would be right around $66. For a good, home cooked meal.

Which, at their estimate would leave me almost $200 for booze and incidentals.

I just want to say, that when you hear these averages-whether for Thanksgiving dinner, or Christmas shopping, or engagement ring, or raising a child through adulthood-take it with a grain of salt. You don't have to be the queen of frugality to come in much less than the average. It isn't necessary in order to have a nice meal or experience. It just isn't.

Peer pressure is used to sell a whole lot of ideas. Don't be daunted. Your idea of average may not be their idea of average. It isn't mine. Average is just that-average. Highest numbers, lowest numbers, middle numbers-all added and divided.

In case you are wondering if my numbers are low-which they are, because I am frugal-(this link) figures about $4.50 per person.

Now, does anybody have a recommendation for a good bottle of $200 wine? I can cook with it. And like Julia Child, I might even add it to the food.