July 4 festivities could be more expensive this year

An inflation indicator shows that food prices alone rose 1.2% in May.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 4th of July festivities could be different this year, as inflation has sent food and gasoline prices skyrocketing. American consumers may want to rethink barbecue or travel traditions this year to cut costs.

The consumer price index from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the cost of food rose 1.2% in May, bringing the year-over-year gain to 10.1%.

For all consumer goods, the index is up 8.6% since May 2021 ⁠ — the biggest increase since December 1981.

While flipping burgers, sipping cold drinks and snacking on potato chips might seem like the perfect way to celebrate independence, rising prices can get in the way.

A new survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation suggests that Americans will pay an average cost of $69.68 for classic convenience foods like cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad and ice cream.

That average cost to serve 10 people is up more than $10 from 2021, according to the survey. Ground beef; boneless, skinless chicken breasts have been the hardest hit by price increases.

Aside from food, July holidays can also be different due to rising gas prices.

The consumer price index shows a 16.9% increase in fuel costs in May.

While many Americans enjoy heading to the beach or visiting family and friends to celebrate the holidays, some may be considering different options due to the cost of filling their car’s gas tank.

About 88% of Americans still plan to drive for their vacation, according to a new survey by Cars.com, a car shopping marketplace. However, three-quarters say near-record petrol prices have caused them to rethink their plans – either staying closer to home or sharing the costs with friends.

Fireworks were also affected by inflation. The American Pyrotechnics Association reported that overall costs in the fireworks industry have increased by 35%. This is due to inflation hitting the fireworks industry, increasing the cost of supplies, raw materials, shipping and transportation, and even insurance.

While all of this may seem to dampen the holiday spirit, there are some things those celebrating can do to keep the cost down.

Wells Fargo’s July 4 food inflation report recommends buying shrimp and pork, which have seen lower price increases than other proteins; non-dairy ice cream; snacks like pretzels; seasonal berries and tomatoes.

To save on gas, consider carpooling with friends and family or even staying home or nearby for the festivities.

Fortunately, there is a lot going on locally! The Tampa Bay area offers a number of nearby festivities that keep you in the area to celebrate.

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