Celebrating Independence Day 2022 estimated to take a big bite out of your wallet, holiday plans

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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From the beach to the backyard, inflation is bleeding into North Carolinians' holiday plans.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- From the beach to the backyard, inflation is bleeding into North Carolinians' holiday plans.

"We would typically have a giant cookout and have all the family over I just don't know that we'll do that this year," said Wake County resident Jonathan Wilkins.

Wilkins said his typical groceries are costing him and his wife about $150 more a month. With his grocery and gas bills nearly doubling compared to past years, Wilkins said they may scale back their holiday weekend plans to save some money.

The American Farm Bureau Federation estimated the average cookout for 10 people will cost 17% more this year. The federation reported that shoppers will spend close to $70 for their cookout items, a $10 increase from last year. Much of the spike in cost stems from increases in the cost of meat.

"It impacts all facets of your life and having folks over, having family over, having friends over, you really have to kind of monitor that and try to save where you can," he said. "We try to save but we can't save as much as we once did."

Wilkins isn't alone. The National Retail Federation predicts only 59% of Americans will have a cookout, around 10% fewer than during normal years. The percentage of people planning on going to a community firework show and the parade is up from past years but is still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The latest Consumer Price Index reported goods are up 9% in the last year.

Even fireworks will cost customers a few extra dollars this year. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimated fireworks will cost about 35% more this year.

ABC11 calculated the average staycation, North Carolina beach vacation and out-of-state travel will all cost customers about 25% more this year.

The biggest price difference from last Fourth of July is in gas and plane tickets.

North Carolinians are forced to pay around $1.63 more per gallon than in 2021.

Even staying home and buying fireworks, food and alcohol, may cost customers around $120 more than last year.

Though some residents are choosing to scale back their plans, travel is still expected to be busy.

"Inflation has definitely impacted prices and people do have sticker shock, but plenty of people are still just pushing on ahead," explained Jody Mahoney, a travel agent with Go Now Travel.

Mahoney said she's been getting a surge of people reaching out for travel plans.

AAA estimated that 48 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles this holiday weekend; levels that nearly mirror 2019 levels. The National Retail Federation also reported that 13% of people plan to travel, a similar percentage seen between 2016-2018.

"It's surprising and it's because of the pent-up demand. People are still willing to pay for what they want to enjoy. And we're certainly seeing lots of excursions and requests for information on even cruising is coming back," Mahoney said.

For people who still want to travel, but also want to save a little, Mahoney recommended booking directly with airlines, opting for drivable distances, and packing your own food,

She also suggested avoiding travel headaches, booking flights early in the day, purchasing travel insurance, choosing smaller airports, and trying to travel during weekdays.

"I tell my clients that things are crowded and expensive this summer and likely later this year because we're seeing the fall being just as crowded as well," Mahoney said. "Pack your patience."

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