Will You Have To Empty Your Wallet To Pay For Your Fourth Of July Cookout?

No one ever promised that throwing a celebratory Fourth of July cookout would be cheap. On the contrary, the notion of spending a bit extra to celebrate a nationally sponsored holiday (or for no reason at all, for that matter) is perfectly in keeping with the capitalistic system upon which our nation was founded (via The Balance). But given the state of the post-pandemic-era global economy and how that has affected inflation in the U.S., celebrating the 246th anniversary of American colonists declaring their independence from Britain in 1776 (via History) stands to cost you more than ever. In fact, regardless of what you're planning on doing and where you're planning on traveling to in order to do it, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) suggests that, on average, you'll be spending 8.6% more than you did for last year's Independence Day celebrations.

In other words, prices for all things that American consumers purchase, including food and fuel, have increased, on average, by $8.60 cents for every $100 spent. Not in 41 years has inflation increased that much in a single year (via CPI). Unfortunately, however, the amount you may actually pay for this year's Fourth of July cookout stands to be quite a bit more painful than that.

How empty your wallet will be will depend upon what's cooking

Although the latest CPI is up 8.6% since the preceding 12-month period, the latest index for the specific category known as "food at home" (as opposed to food eaten at restaurants) is up 11.9% for that same period. That's the "largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1979," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices in almost all grocery store sub-categories increased by at least 10%, but the one that rose the most dramatically is the one that includes all meat, fish, and poultry – in other words, the stuff that you're most likely to want to purchase for grilling out, per Statista. Indeed, prices for animal proteins are up more than 14.2% since last year at this time.

On the other hand, that figure takes into account the 32.2% price increase over the last 12 months that the CPI has recorded for eggs. So, if you're willing to skip the deviled eggs and the traditional egg custard for this year's cookout, then that may help keep your grocery bill down. Nevertheless, the overall cost of an American cookout may be up by as much as 17% since last year – nearly twice the overall CPI, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. As you might suspect, these borderline surreal price increases are the result of continuing disruptions along the supply chain, as exacerbated by Russia's military aggression in Ukraine.