Last year I wrote an article for About.com about the cost of celebrating July 4. The ever-increasing price of gas at this time last year was a crushing blow to most American families, especially those who drove to their vacation destination. The cost of beef had also risen 25 percent going into the holiday, so any grill-happy dad was faced with another budget buster.
With July 4 just around the corner again, I thought now would be a good time to look back and see how this year’s celebration expenses should stack up against last year’s. It’s amazing how much things can change in a relatively short amount of time.
While last year we were wringing our hands over the high gas prices, now the Atlanta average price per gallon according to GasBuddy.com is $2.81, an almost 25 percent drop.
Gas prices have been as low as $2 on average in Atlanta, so even though prices have risen significantly in 2015 this chart from AAA shows that we’re still saving a significant amount compared with the previous three years. This year we’ll pay almost a dollar less per gallon at the pump on July 4.
Last Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose a whopping 0.9 percent in May, the biggest one-month gain since August of 2009. This is evidence that consumers are starting to open their wallets and actually start spending some of the savings they have experienced from lower prices at the pump.
As far as the beef prices are concerned, we’re not completely in the clear. According to this Nasdaq chart on Feeder Cattle, last year’s spike in beef prices hasn’t completely settled down. So we’ll pay about the same for beef this Independence Day.
Overall, mostly due to lower gas prices, this should be a relatively inexpensive July 4 holiday. To top it off, Atlanta has been named by WalletHub the 9th best city for July 4th celebrations. They based their rankings on entertainment, food, attractions, activities and our weather forecast.
Considering how hot it gets around here, clearly they put a bit more emphasis on the entertainment, food and drinks.
If you’re looking for some great July 4th entertainment that’s budget friendly, I suggest you join the fun at one of the below events.
• Free: Lenox Square will have fireworks, music and concessions
• $15 per car: Fantastic Fourth Celebration at Stone Mountain Park with a lasershow and fireworks
• $16 per ticket: Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies and they end the game with fireworks and patriot music
Have a happy and wallet-friendly July 4th!
Certified financial planner Wes Moss offers financial and accessible investment advice to Atlanta Bargain Hunter readers.