Celebrating the Fourth of July means getting decked out in red, white, and blue, grilling burgers and hot dogs, and setting off fireworks and sparklers. But going all out on an Independence Day bash isn’t cheap — Americans plan to spend $6.9 billion on Fourth of July cookouts this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Our own July Fourth spending survey reveals how this holiday affects Americans’ expenses and budgets. Here’s what partiers said about the amount they expect to spend in different categories to celebrate the Independence Day 2018.
Most Americans will keep July Fourth spending under $100. Seventeen percent said they don’t plan to spend anything for the holiday, while 46% said they’ll keep costs under $100.
The biggest Fourth of July expense is food. Over half of the respondents (54%) expected to spend the most on food, projecting costs that average $149.
The average total spending on an Independence Day celebration is $710. This amount includes the costs of food, alcohol, fireworks, travel, and patriotic merchandise.
Student loan borrowers plan to spend 37% more than those without student debt for this holiday. Americans with student debt planned to spend more than those without education loans in every category of Independence Day-related costs. In fact, their projected total expenses were $235 higher than what people without student debt planned to spend.
Two-thirds plan to spend under $100
When it comes to the Fourth of July, celebrations tend to be flashy, but relatively inexpensive.
Nearly two-thirds of our survey respondents planned to spend under $100 on all Independence Day expenses, including food, drinks, travel, decor, clothing, and fireworks. That segment includes the 17% who planned to spend nothing on the festivities, plus the 46% who expected to spend less than $100.
Another 29% planned to spend between $100 and $499 to celebrate the holiday. But fewer than 10% of the respondents planned to spend more than $500, including 7% estimating between $500 and $999, and just 2% expecting to spend $1,000 or more.
More than half say food will be biggest expense
Food is expected to be the star of the Fourth of July celebrations, according to our survey. When asked about different spending categories, most respondents said they expected to spend the most money on food.
Over half (54%) are spending more on food than any other Independence Day costs. The trend that makes sense, given that the all-American cookout is the quintessential way to spend the holiday. In fact, 62% of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday in this fashion this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Food is followed by two categories likely to be popular at cookouts: alcohol and fireworks. Combined, 28% of respondents in our survey expected one of these categories to be their biggest expense.
Travel was next, with 8% projecting they’d spend the most on this activity. Then came patriotic merchandise — only 2% of all respondents said such items would be their biggest expense.
Finally, 9% of respondents did not choose a top spending category because they don’t plan to spend anything to celebrate the holiday.
The average celebration is expected to cost $710
In addition to seeing which categories were expected to draw people’s spending for Independence Day, we wanted to capture the dollar amounts they planned on each of them. So, our survey asked respondents to estimate their expenses using a sliding scale.
Based on the responses, here are the average amounts they planned to spend in each category.
The total cost of celebrating July Fourth is expected to be $710 on average. This amount is far above what most people planned to spend on the holiday, considering that two-thirds were going to spend under $100.
Of course, these averages aren’t necessarily representative of a typical celebrator’s true spending. Some respondents’ higher expenses could skew results upward, as might have happened with outliers in the travel category.
Student loan borrowers plan to spend $235 more than others
We’re always interested to see how student loans affect money management and spending habits, so we included a question in the survey asking respondents if they have student loans. Then we compared the Fourth of July costs for those with education debt to those without the burden.
The startling result? Across the board, student loan borrowers planned to spend more than people without student debt — despite having an additional monthly payment around which they have to budget.
The biggest cost difference was in the travel category, for which student loan borrowers planned to spend an average of $407, compared with $260 for those without student debt. The category with the smallest spending difference was food.
These differences in spending added up to an extra $235 in estimated costs for respondents with student debt.
We don’t know why people with education debt planned to spend more on the holiday, but it’s a strong trend. In fact, the amount of planned July Fourth spending correlates to the amount of debt owed — those who owe more than $30,000 in student debt said they planned to spend even more, on average, than those with less debt.
People carrying student debt likely are more educated, which correlates to higher incomes. These higher earnings might explain a higher level of spending. If these borrowers earn more, they might be able to afford to budget more for holiday celebrations, even with a student loan payment in the mix.
Plan out your holiday expenses and stick to what’s affordable
Overall, Americans aren’t afraid to spend big on an Independence Day bash. This survey can be helpful in gauging what’s reasonable to spend on July Fourth celebrations, but you also should consider your own money situation.
As you plan your budget, calculate your costs to make sure you can afford comfortably. List your planned costs to ensure you can pay your bills and afford a holiday blowout. By looking ahead, you can try to adjust your budget or other costs to avoid overspending.
Be cautious when covering July Fourth costs with a credit card, too. These costs coincide with popular categories for big credit card rewards and cash back, such as travel, gas, and groceries. But don’t let the convenience of credit cards lure you into debt for Independence Day. You should charge only those purchases you can pay off in full in the coming month to avoid paying credit card interest.
By planning your holiday spending and shopping around Fourth of July deals, you can celebrate in style without paying for it later.
Hey, reporters! Check out our latest surveys and studies by signing up for our news updates. We’d love to help you with your next assignment.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2019!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.
†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com
**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
* Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.99%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|5.74% – 18.07%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|5.67% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 35.89%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000|
|5.99% – 29.99%3||$7,500 - $40,000|
|6.79% – 20.89%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|15.49% – 35.99%5||$2,000 - $25,000|
|6.95% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|5.99% – 17.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|