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New Jersey named the cheapest state to host a BBQ, ahead of Fourth of July celebrations

NEW JERSEY – A new ranking has revealed which states will have to spend more to host a Fourth of July barbecue this year – with South Dakota, Georgia, and Kentucky named top, and New Jersey crowned the cheapest.

The research, pulled together by Total Shape, is based on the current cost of grocery items – including beef, cheese, and bread – compared against the average salary in each state, to identify where people have to pay the most to purchase the same BBQ ingredients.

Buying the basic food supplies for a 10-person BBQ will set you back $103 in South Dakota. And whilst Massachusetts has the highest outright ingredient cost at $127, South Dakotans will have to spend a higher proportion of their monthly wage ($3.6k) to cover the event.

The price increases substantially if every guest wants a beer (or two), rising to $151. On the other end of the scale, beer and BBQ food for 10 people in New Jersey costs just $98.

The average grocery item used at a barbecue will set South Dakotans back $8, and the most expensive item is beef, priced at $15 per kg. This is over twice as expensive as New Jersey’s ($6.37/kg), but still two-fifths (42%) cheaper than Iowa’s.

In New Jersey, the most expensive grocery store item is chicken at $7.25/kg – but this is a whopping 67% cheaper than it is in Iowa, at $22.05/kg.

The cheapest states to throw a BBQ this summer

State Average Monthly Salary 10-Person BBQ Cost State Average Monthly Salary 10-Person BBQ Cost
New Jersey $4,998 $98.05 Rhode Island $4,768 $125.99
Virginia $4,728 $110.78 Colorado $4,808 $128.59
Alaska $4,941 $120.68 New Hampshire $4,496 $122.44
Maryland $5,019 $123.57 West Virginia $3,618 $98.83
Connecticut $5,196 $134.78 Delaware $4,531 $123.81

*10-person BBQ cost includes two beers per guest

But this doesn’t mean that states with the highest salaries are guaranteed to be able to afford to host a party this July, as grocery prices have risen across the board this year.

Even in Massachusetts, where the average salary is $65.7k, each grocery item required for a barbecue costs around $9.24 – 24% higher than the national average ($7.46).

Whilst those who don’t drink will reduce the cost of their Fourth of July party considerably, it turns out that domestic beer prices fluctuate only slightly from state to state.

Whilst South Dakotans will have to spend the most on purchasing all the products needed for their BBQ, they won’t have to spring too much for a bottled beer, priced at $2.37 each. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has the most expensive domestic beer at $3.06 a bottle.

Most expensive states to throw a BBQ this summer

State Average Monthly Salary 10-Person BBQ Cost State Average Monthly Salary 10-Person BBQ Cost
South Dakota $3,577 $150.80 Iowa $3,944 $146.58
Georgia $4,135 $170.86 Tennessee $3,804 $140.03
Kentucky $3,668 $139.72 Utah $4,118 $148.30
Montana $3,781 $142.63 North Carolina $4,046 $145.31
Illinois $4,594 $172.19 Maine $4,039 $142.15

*10-person BBQ cost includes two beers per guest

Most hosts will find that their party is considerably more expensive this year than last Independence Day, as sausages now cost 26% more than they did in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The price rises even further for those hoping for more than the usual spread of sausages, cheese, beef, chicken, bread and beer; with sirloin steak now 14% more expensive than in May last year, cookies up 14%, potato chips up 15%, and even flour costing 22% more.

However, there are some ways Americans looking to throw a Fourth of July celebration can cut costs, the experts at Total Shape reveal – without compromising on fun.

“With food prices up across America in the last year, many of us will be left worried about covering the cost of our usual holiday celebrations this summer – especially for the Fourth of July, which is a chance for the whole family to get together,” a Total Shape spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said, as well as utilizing the usual tactics to keep costs low – including keeping an eye out for seasonal deals, taking advantage of coupons, buying in bulk and freezing portions and opting for own-brand products – there are some specific money-saving tips BBQ hosts can follow this year:

  • See whether your guests can split the bill to cover the food, or bring their own preprepared dishes to the cookout. This will help take the pressure off the host.
  • Try to include vegetarian mains where possible, as large portions of grill-friendly vegetables like mushrooms and tomatoes are currently cheaper than meat.
  • Implement a ‘bring your own beer’ rule, so you don’t have to worry about buying liquor or alcohol in bulk. Then you can focus your resources just on food.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index and Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index.

Total Ranking

State Monthly Wage 10-Person BBQ (with beer)
South Dakota $3,577 $150.80
Georgia $4,135 $170.86
Kentucky $3,668 $139.72
Montana $3,781 $142.63
Illinois $4,594 $172.19
Iowa $3,944 $146.58
Tennessee $3,804 $140.03
Utah $4,118 $148.30
North Carolina $4,046 $145.31
Maine $4,039 $142.15
Louisiana $3,681 $126.66
Mississippi $3,341 $114.93
Massachusetts $5,473 $188.22
Hawaii $4,578 $153.09
South Carolina $3,698 $122.55
Arkansas $3,558 $115.00
Florida $3,979 $128.59
New York $5,331 $171.27
Nevada $3,934 $126.24
California $5,108 $160.31
Indiana $3,898 $120.90
Washington $5,168 $160.27
Missouri $3,985 $121.80
Oklahoma $3,802 $116.18
Wisconsin $4,071 $123.22
New Mexico $3,920 $117.68
Vermont $4,260 $127.24
Ohio $4,119 $121.85
Texas $4,208 $124.25
Idaho $3,741 $110.00
Alabama $3,744 $109.83
Kansas $3,877 $112.47
Oregon $4,491 $129.63
Michigan $4,232 $120.49
Nebraska $4,021 $114.24
Arizona $4,244 $120.48
Pennsylvania $4,278 $119.64
North Dakota $4,203 $117.51
Minnesota $4,658 $128.33
Wyoming $4,147 $113.72
Delaware $4,531 $123.81
West Virginia $3,618 $98.83
New Hampshire $4,496 $122.44
Colorado $4,808 $128.59
Rhode Island $4,768 $125.99
Connecticut $5,196 $134.78
Maryland $5,019 $123.57
Alaska $4,941 $120.68
Virginia $4,728 $110.78
New Jersey $4,998 $98.05

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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