Beef up, beer down: How much will your Memorial Day BBQ cost?


If you're firing up the grill this Memorial Day, you'll be happy to know that it won't set you back much more than it did last year – though you'll be paying more for burgers.

In the latest annual look at barbecue prices for the holiday weekend, figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the cost of "20 items" needed for a 12-person cookout rose by just 2 percent compared to last year, the New York Post reports.

Based on filling a cart with FreshDirect, the total came to $198.79 – $4.07 more than it cost last year.

But with wages rising a bit faster than it has in recent years, according to the Wall Street Journal, the impact on the wallets of some Minnesotans won't seem as severe.

Actually, the prices of most barbecue foods have risen, but because gas used to get to the cookout (or the grocery store) is factored into the calculations, the 29.9 percent fall in unleaded regular is helping keep overall costs low.

Beef more expensive, beer cheaper

What's dragging the cost up are burgers and hot dogs, with MorningStar reporting that the prices of ground beef recently reached a record $4.23 per pound, compared to $2.36 just five years ago.

The NYP says hamburgers therefore will cost 13.7 percent more than they did last year – the biggest rise in the last 12 months – while hot dogs are also pricier, gaining 7.8 percent.

Also more expesnive, but not by more than 4 percent, are red onions, coleslaw, beefsteak tomatoes and ice cream, while there were minimal increases in the cost of pickles, chicken, corn and hamburger/hot dog buns.

Shoppers will save money on beer, soda, watermelon and potato salad, which according to the BLS are all cheaper than in 2014.

What about the sales?

Memorial Day weekend is a busy time for retail promotions, but USA Today has put together a guide on "What Not to Buy" this Memorial Day weekend.

At the top of the lists are barbecues, with the newspaper saying retailers will try to tempt shoppers with offers, but advises it's best to stick with what you've got until prices drop further, with the best time to buy in September.

Due to high demand, USA Today also advises against buying swimsuits or swimming pools, which will have price mark-ups now that the summer has arrived, and has also cautioned people to wait a little while longer before buying a camcorder, saying that June and July are the best months to buy them.

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