Thanksgiving dinner can be a costly splurge for your food budget, but just for fun, imagine paying the rent on your two-bedroom apartment with that same meal.
The first step might be to rent a truck, especially if you live in Chapel Hill, where the average rent for a two-bedroom unit is $1,170, or 20.1 turkey dinners costing roughly $58.21, according to the 2017 Apartment List Turkey Index.
Only Huntersville and Matthews – at 20.7 dinners and 22.7 dinners, respectively – were more expensive among the 19 North Carolina cities surveyed. In the Triangle, Morrisville ranked fourth and Durham tied with Charlotte for fifth, followed by Cary and Raleigh (see the full list below).
To get their numbers, employees with the online listing service ApartmentList.com estimated the average national cost for an 18-pound turkey, stuffing, a vegetable dish, mashed potatoes and apple pie at $63.84, based on ingredient prices from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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They then estimated the cost of groceries in each city surveyed, and divided the adjusted turkey dinner cost into the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in each city.
While the grocery list gobbled up leftover cash in some low-rent cities, Apartment List showed other places hit renters both at home and in the grocery store.
In Honolulu, Hawaii, for instance, residents paid the most-expensive grocery bill – at $105.66 – and an average monthly rent of $2,100, giving the city a Turkey Index score of 19.9 dinners.
However, Honolulu’s score was nowhere near to San Francisco, which topped the Turkey Index at 38.4 dinners for a two-bedroom apartment. Rounding out the top five were San Jose at 32.2 turkey dinners, New York at 32.1 dinners, Boston at 30.8 dinners, and San Diego at 27.5 dinners.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, on the other hand, you might be able to fit dinner in your car’s trunk for the ride to the landlord’s house. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see your cash gobbled up at the grocery store.
In Cleveland, where the Turkey Index score was 11.1, renters pay roughly $800 a month, but the average turkey dinner costs about $72. Other low-cost cities included Wichita, Kansas, where the median rent was $740, or 12.5 turkey dinners; and Winston-Salem, where the median rent of $790 would buy 12.7 dinners.
The lowest reported price for a turkey dinner was in Houston, where residents can expect to pay roughly $54. However, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,010, giving the city a Turkey Index score of 18.6 dinners.
Top 10 Turkey Index cities
1. Matthews, $1,370, or 22.7 dinners
2. Huntersville, $1,250, or 20.7 dinners
3. Chapel Hill, $1,170, or 20.1 dinners
4. Morrisville, $1,340, or 19.7 dinners
5. Tie: Durham, $1,070, or 18.4 dinners; and Charlotte, $1,110, or 18.4 dinners
6. Cary, $1,220, or 17.9 dinners
7. Raleigh, $1,120, or 16.5 dinners
8. Burlington, $920, or 15.2 dinners
9. Wilmington, $910, or 14.0 dinners
10. Winston-Salem, $790, or 12.7 dinners