Saving Money

Barbeque on a Budget: How to Save Money this 4th of July

Save money on your July Fourth BBQ
Written by Madison Mazer

As we approach the middle of summer, one major celebration comes to mind: the 4th of July, which may come as a shock to some. How are we this far into 2021?

It was a year ago that the entire world was on lockdown due to COVID-19. We celebrated birthdays, weddings, and national holidays in our homes on Zoom instead of with friends and family. 

July 4th was no exception. All the things we love about this holiday like fireworks displays, live concerts, and commemorative activities were canceled. Because of this only 76% of Americans actually celebrated in 2020 as opposed to 86% in 2019, states the National Retail Federation (NRF). 

However this year as COVID-19 vaccine distributions increase and many outdoor activities reopen, we can see our country return to some sense of normalcy. With that being said, the NRF estimates that this Independence Day the number of people celebrating will increase to 84%. Even though this number doesn’t top the stats from 2019, the NRD predicts that this year Americans will spend a record breaking $7.52 billion on food and supplies.  

While this amount seems high, you have to take inflation into account. According to government data reported by the Washington Post, U.S. inflation is at its highest, surging approximately 5%. For the 4th, this means the prices you see in stores won’t be the same as they were last year. 

Given that you might be contributing to the record-breaking purchases this year, is here to help. Instead of maxing out your credit card or going into debt for a little celebration, read our tips on how you can save this 4th of July. 

1. Food

The main event at most barbecues is the meat and protein selection. While hot dogs and hamburgers are always a bargain barbecue staple, veggie burgers, skirt steak, chicken legs, and chicken thighs are also great on a grill and usually reasonably priced. 

To make sure you’re getting the best deal, compare the prices of a few items on your grocery list at various supermarkets near you. Once you find the right store, keep an eye out during the days leading up to Independence Day. Many tend to stock up and offer sales on the cuts of meat they think they might have too much of after the fireworks have fizzled. 

Don’t forget about the sides. In July, summer produce is at its peak, which also means that grocery stores and farmers markets have an abundance of delicious fruits and veggies for you to snag up for rock-bottom prices.
As for many people’s favorite part of the meal, dessert, you can save big by making staple red, white, and blue themed sweets at home. Instead of buying pricey cakes, bake one with your family. You can also pick up some food dye and frosting to decorate! 

To avoid overspending on food, count the people who plan on attending your celebration and shop accordingly. An extra tip is to look for coupons online, in-store catalogs, or your local newspaper. Websites like and RetailMeNot can help you find deals for tons of items on your grocery list. Even if you only get a few dollars off per item, the savings can add up when it comes to holiday spending.

If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of cooking this year, try having a potluck and asking each guest to bring a dish. You can also forget the barbeque altogether and try eating at a restaurant offering Independence Day deals. You can even pick up free items leading up to and throughout the 4th from places like Krispy Kreme and Quiznos.   

2. BBQ Equipment

Besides food for the barbeque, you’ll also need some gear. From grilling tool sets to humorous knife holders, Amazon has everything you need for the perfect cook-out. While most top-of-the-line materials can be expensive, there are tons of quality gadgets you can get on a budget this 4th. 

There’s also the option of buying more costly items for the long haul. For those grill masters who want to shell out a little more money on products that hold their value over time, we recommend trying this wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer or this special edition clever for outdoor cooking.  

3. Fireworks

If your state laws allow it, you can put on a cost-effective firework show from the comfort of your home.

However, like meat, vegetables, and grill-out food, fireworks often go up in price and easily disappear on the big day. This year, the NRF estimates that 33% of the population will buy their own pyrotechnics for their celebrations. 

To save, search for the best deals at local stores and buy “the heavy artillery” ahead of time. If you have little ones, bring them shopping with you. Many stores offer free fireworks or sparklers for kids! You can even start saving for next year’s party by purchasing heavily discounted fireworks on July 5th.

Remember, you don’t need to spend all your money on fancy rockets. There are several firework alternatives that are ideal for a home such as sparklers, smoke balls, lanterns, and party poppers. 

You can also see free local fireworks. Try packing a picnic, some blankets, and heading to a city or park offering a 4th of July firework demonstration.

4. Decor

If you want to dress up your backyard, the dollar stores will be your best friend. You can pick up quality seasonal table toppers, plates, napkins and more for way less than what you’d find at a party store.

As always take caution and try buying items in advance because as the merchandise arrives, so it goes. To cut costs for next year, save all of your one-day celebration decorations to reuse.

5. Clothing

Swimsuits can still be pricey since we’re right in the middle of summer, but some stores are starting to clear out their stock to get ready for fall fashion. This means one thing: sales, especially the ones around three-day weekends, including July 4th. 

If you need some summer items now, make sure you go to these sales early, as the stores won’t be buying more items in different sizes. Once a size or style is gone—it’s gone.

6. Fun Outdoor Gear

This can be a tough one because sometimes you’ll find bargains, but other times you’ll have to wait till Labor Day to get the best deals. 

It’s helpful to look at places you wouldn’t normally think of for great deals. 

Drug stores can be a great place to pick up outdoor games and toys for kids around this time because again, they want to easily clear out seasonal stock to prepare for fall. 

To find other fun gear check the “Today’s Deals” link to find ongoing promotions on outdoor furniture, kitchenware, and more. Also check out Amazon Wearhouse, which offers huge discounts on open-box items. 

If you don’t mind something secondhand, there are still bargains to be had. Although new outdoor furniture won’t go on sale until September, there are tons of people trying to get rid of their old stuff now. This goes for items like grills and sandboxes as well. If you need something, keep an eye out for it on sites like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp.

7. Be Cautious and Stay Safe

Although Independence Day is one of the most entertaining holidays, it can also be one of the most dangerous. According to an study, surveying fatal car accidents from 2016-18, the 4th of July ranks first for most crashes. 

This upcoming holiday can also be unsafe for other reasons. Although the CDC announced that COVID-19 vaccinated individuals can socialize without being high-risk, it is still important to know the limits and take precautions to protect you and your family. 


  • If you’re going to drive, don’t drink alcohol. If you plan on drinking, use ridesharing or find a designated driver.
  • If you go to a park, lake, or beach, remember to pick up your trash and leave the area you used clean.
  • Take necessary precautions when handling fireworks to protect yourself and the environment.
  • If you have any symptoms related to Covid-19, don’t attend any celebrations. Instead, get tested and stay home to minimize the spread. 

Have fun and be safe this season! 

About the author

Madison Mazer