America might be the land of the free, but when it comes to its birthday bash, it’s far from affordable. Between backyard barbeques and lengthy fireworks displays, it’s easy to drop a lot of green while you celebrate the red, white, and blue. Only the brave can manage to escape the holiday without overspending.
Budgets broken by barbeques and brews
What would Independence Day be without a barbeque? Not a proper celebration for the nation, that’s what! Nearly 65 percent of all Americans spend the Fourth at a picnic, barbeque, or some other food-related get-together, making it a very important aspect of the holiday.
It’s no wonder. America loves to fire up the grill, and there’s nothing more American than a hotdog seared to perfection. In fact, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports the Fourth of July is the biggest hot dog-eating holiday of the year. Yes, there is such a thing as the NHDSC, and they estimate Americans eat roughly 150 million hot dogs every Independence Day. Add to that burgers, ribs, and all the classic summer sides and you’ve got the start of a great meal — and a long bill.
The National Retail Federation reports the nation spent more $7 billion on cookouts last year — $37 million of which was just on ketchup alone. And they washed down all that food with beer. The country spent a collective $1 billion on ales and lagers.
Red-hot fireworks incinerate savings
Once the paper plates have been cleared away, it’s time for the fireworks. Fireworks are an essential part of any summertime festivity, and America’s birthday is no different. While some of the country’s biggest capital cities put on popular public displays, plenty of individuals take it on themselves to create a display worthy of the celebration.
Approximately 100 million people watch fireworks on the night of the Fourth. While the country spends more than a collective $1 billion on these pyrotechnics, consumers covered $755 million worth of this bill on their own.
Travel burns as much money as it does gas
We can’t all be hosts on the big day. Those who don’t have the space or inclination to entertain end up acting as guests. While some will simply walk over to the next house for their neighbor’s cookout, others will have to travel to get to their celebration.
Some 44 million Americans travel more than 50 miles from their home over the long weekend. While gas in the U.S. is still cheaper than prices elsewhere around the world, fuel prices are climbing state-side. American motorists are expected to pay billions of dollars more in higher gas costs in 2018. According to GasBuddy.com forecasts, the average American household will spend $1,898 on gas this year, compared to $1,765 in 2017. Though the difference may be small, those on tight budgets will feel it.
How will you protect your budget from the Fourth?
It may only be one day, or it could be a full weekend of festivities. However you celebrate the Fourth, it can liberate the money from your wallet. If you’re one of the many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, it’s important to recognize the holiday for what it is: a financial risk.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a barbeque with friends, but you need to be careful with how you celebrate if you want your finances to survive the weekend. Some good practices to keep in mind going into the holiday include:
Having a budget
This financial tool is an important addition to your finances at any time of the year. It forces you to track your expenses, so you understand how you’re spending your money. In most cases, this scrutiny will reveal bad spending habits that limit how much you can put towards savings and debts. A budget also gives your finances structure. In addition to outlining how you spend your money, it helps you identify the way you wish you could spend and save your cash — like having enough to travel to your aunt’s Fourth of July cookout.
A budget makes bad spending habits known, but it’s up to you if you want to eliminate them from your life. Take the time to think about how you’re spending your money. If you regularly spend your change on coffee before work, consider how important these purchases are in your life. They may not seem as important once you realize how much cash you’ll free up once you stop making them.
Knowing your backup plan
Even after you make a budget and prioritize your spending, accidental overspending on the holidays can happen. When it does, it could leave you unprepared for other bills and responsibilities further down the line. It’s important you know how you’ll face these emergencies should they happen. While traditional personal loans are the obvious choice for many, they often act too slow for those facing time-sensitive bills or repairs.
For those working against the clock to meet their responsibilities, an installment loan offers a faster alternative. Online lenders like MoneyKey have eliminated many of the barriers and complexities that can slow down a traditional loan by going digital. Those approved for installment loans online from MoneyKey can receive their cash via direct deposit after one business day. When you apply for installment loans online, you may receive the same quick response time for your personal emergency.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner. If you expect to celebrate it with your friends and family in a way that won’t compromise your finances, follow the above three exercises to protect your cash. More importantly, be aware of how much money you can spend on the holiday and try to spend within your means this year.