Here’s How Much More Your Memorial Day Weekend Cookout Will Cost This Year

MANAGE MONEY - BUDGETING
Burgers will be grilled this Memorial Day weekend — but your budget also will feel the heat.
Updated April 3, 2023
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Memorial Day themed cookout

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Memorial Day weekend is the official opening of the summer cookout season. Thanks to inflation, your cookout is going to cost you a lot more than it did last year.

How much more will firing up the barbecue cost in 2022? Check out our breakdown of 14 foods and drinks you need for any great cookout. All cost increases come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

Hot dogs

natapetrovich/Adobe Hot dogs with condiments

You can’t really have a cookout without hot dogs, especially if there are kids involved. Unfortunately, the price of those red-hots is boiling over. Hot dogs currently cost 6.9% more than they did last year.

Ground beef

escapejaja/Adobe Happy girl eating a burger

Good ground beef for hamburgers is fatty and rich, but the rising cost of such meat might give you indigestion. Ground beef costs 14.8% more this year than it did last year.

 4 Strategies the 1% Use to Deal With Inflation 

Ice cream

sf1nks/Adobe People holding ice cream cones

Everyone screams for ice cream, but this year’s prices might cause you to howl. Ice cream is up 4.7% over last year. Before you get too upset, know that the rise in the price of this sweet treat is rather modest compared to some other items on this list.

Soft drinks

OlegDoroshin/Adobe Soda cans

Fill a cooler with ice and toss in cans of soda, and let your guests serve themselves. Or, if you are on a tight budget, maybe you should suggest guests bring their own refreshments. Soft drinks are 9.2% more expensive this year than last year.

Rolls

EVOGRAF.MX/Adobe Hamburger and hot dog buns

Unless you’re eating low-carb, you need rolls for your hot dogs and burgers. The price of rolls has jumped 10.1% in price — which makes the low-carb approach sound better all the time. 

Cookies

mandritoiu/Adobe cookie section at costco

Cookies are easier to serve and eat than slices of cake, so they’re a no-brainer for a cookout. But your enthusiasm for cookies might crumble when you learn that they are up 6.6% in price since last year.

Chicken

Fang zheng/Adobe Packaged rotisserie chicken

Grilled chicken is a juicy, charred-tasting alternative to burgers and dogs. But the price of chicken in 2022 is truly for the birds. Fresh and frozen chicken parts have gone up in price over the last year more than anything else on the list, a whopping 17.9%.

With any luck, you’ll find some summer deals at Costco on chicken or other items on this list that can keep costs more manageable.

Potatoes

Brent Hofacker/Adobe pile of potatoes

Toss whole potatoes on the grill to bake, or slice them, toss them with oil and salt, and wrap in foil to put on the grill to roast. Potatoes have always been an affordable staple, but even they have inflation baked into them in 2022, with prices up 7.2% since last year.

Tomatoes

serbogachuk/Adobe farmer holding fresh tomatoes

Nice juicy tomato slices make your burger better. Tomatoes only had a tiny price increase over last year, up just 0.4%. So, this is a rare instance on this list where you probably won’t even notice the increase. 

Lettuce

nito/Adobe romaine lettuce

A crisp lettuce leaf makes your burger taste refreshing. But you may wilt when you see the higher sticker price for this green. Lettuce has gone up a surprising 12.7% over the last 12 months.

Ketchup and mustard

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Ketchup, mustard and hot dogs

Ketchup and mustard can add flavor to your hamburgers and hot dogs, but this year, you can’t enjoy them without also enduring the bitter taste of higher costs. Condiments as a category are 5.2% more expensive than last year.

Pickle relish

marysckin/Adobe bowls of relish

Pickle relish is the key to a great hot dog, and this year you will pay up for that invaluable ingredient. Relish is 9.3% more expensive this year than last year.

With any luck, you’ll find generic products for relish and other items on this list, which could help you rein in costs.

Lemonade

ahirao/Adobe japanese lemon soju

Lemonade is another classic summertime drink for a cookout, so pay up for this sweet refreshment even if the price leaves you feeling sour. Juice and other mixers are up 9.2% from last year.

Watermelon

Pineapple studio/Adobe Slices of watermelon

No cookout is over until you’ve been standing on the grass eating a slice of sweet watermelon with the juice dripping down your arms. Fresh fruits are about the healthiest thing in a typical cookout, but they will weaken your wallet this year. Prices are up 8.3% over last year.

Bottom line

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe Person grilling outside

Deliciousness costs more this year than it did in 2021. But higher food prices are not the only rising cost likely to impact your Memorial Day fun (here's how the 1% deals with inflation).

It will cost a whole lot more for your guests to get to your BBQ this year than it did last year. Gas prices have hit record highs, flirting with $4.60 a gallon nationwide and topping $6 in California.

Hate The Pain At The Pump? You Need This 5 Step Checklist ASAP

If this continues, maybe next year your guests will just Zoom in for the cookout.

The good news is that hosting a cookout is still cheaper than going away for the weekend. Even the cost of camping out has gone up over last year because of the increase in price of gas and supplies for camping.

Since the whole point is to gather family and friends, hosting a cookout remains the winning, affordable Memorial Day Weekend plan.

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Author Details

Elizabeth Rollins Elizabeth Rollins has degrees in literature and business, and she's combined these loves into a career in writing about personal finance. Her special areas of interest are debt, value, budgeting, education, and retirement.

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