4th of July drinks

The Economy of July 4th: Higher Prices, Delayed Fireworks, and Ways to Save

Cost of a Cookout

Prices are up all across America. With inflation running up at its highest level since the early 1980s, people celebrating July 4th with a BBQ can expect to pay around 17% more for food. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, that includes ground beef which costs 36% more than a year ago, as well as chicken breasts which are close to 33% more expensive.

Despite higher prices, around 60% of Americans say they will still grill this weekend. Just over half are planning a get together with friends and family, according to market research firm, Numerator. Washing it all down with a Coca-Cola (KO) or PepsiCo (PEP) may be refreshing, but won’t provide much pricing relief. The beverage giants have raised prices and reduced package sizes of some of their products in what industry experts refer to as “shrinkflation.”

Road Trips and Fireworks

After grilling, many Americans turn their attention to local firework shows. Some people, however, may end up disappointed this weekend, and the supply chain is to blame. Shipments of fireworks coming from China are delayed, forcing some towns to schedule fireworks shows as late as September.

Higher gas prices are also a concern for many Americans. To that end, 55% of respondents plan to travel for July 4, according to The Vacationer. That’s 8% higher than this time last year, however due to record high prices at the pump, 27% said they will travel shorter distances.

Saving Cash

With elevated costs threatening to overshadow your holiday weekend, there are steps you can take to save. One is seeking out value. For example, frozen burger patties cost less than fresh ones, and pork is relatively cheaper than chicken.

Additionally, look for sales. Generic brands are typically cheaper but many name brands run specials ahead of July 4. Produce like fresh veggies and fruits are in season and offer relative bargains. Finally, buying in bulk from Costco (COST), BJs (BJ), or Sams Club (WMT) helps on price. You can apply that same logic to drinks — making lemonade rather than serving individual soft drinks, for example. Things may be more expensive this year, but there are still plenty of cost-conscious ways to celebrate July 4th.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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