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How Much Money Did You “Blow” On Fireworks?

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Today I’m reposting an oldie (but a goodie). We have an awesome 4th, and enjoyed family, friends, food and fireworks!

And as someone who is always budget-conscious, the question I always wonder after every 4th is, “So, how much did you spend?!“. This year, we spent $45 total. Let me know how much you spent in the comments below!

4th of July Fireworks
BOOM! All your money is gone.

We all know that the 4th of July (or, July 4th, as I like to call it) is a pyro’s dream holiday, followed by New Year’s Eve fireworks and birthday candles.

And what’s not to love.

You get to blow stuff up legally, the grill is fired up all day, and you can finally show your neighbors that you are better than them by shoving 24 artillery-style firework shells into a giant tube and literally watching your money burn in the night sky. You neighbor’s roman candle can’t hold a flame to that (so many puns, so little time).

We Spent How Much?

Every year, our family all gathers together at our grandparent’s amazing cabin on a small lake about an hour north of here. We’ve got amazing food cookin’ all day, tons of family fun on the lake, and when the lights go down, we rock the fireworks.

For a few years in a row, it seemed we were in competition with the surrounding houses on who could put on the best show. We (the boys) would go out to the reservation and I saw my uncles drop some serious cash on boxes of fireworks that were almost taller than me!

We would pack a few SUV’s full of the “good stuff” and drive back with the biggest grins you have ever seen. There’s something magical about knowing you have more firepower than a small army packed in your trunk.

After talking with some people, I heard that our family all together dropped over $600 on fireworks one year! Probably closer to $1,000!!! WOW! And we burned it up in a few hours. And though it’s not much compared to blowing through $100,000, it is no small chunk of change.

How much do you spend?

An article in Time Magazine states that “consumers in the 18- to 24-age category are expected to spend the most money over the holiday ($379), with men spending more than women.” I think this number includes food, drinks and fireworks, but that is a LOT of money for people to spend on one day.

And your purchased assets are 100% depreciated in under 3 hours! I don’t come near this average, but I can tell you that I do spend more than my allotted $20 a month spending cash.

And it’s usually on impulse, based on the fact that I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines, holding a sparkler like a goober.

Is It Worth It?

The question really is; Is it worth the $379 you spend every year to celebrate this historic day?

I would venture to say that young men are more likely to answer yes to this question.

I’m still on the fence.

I know, blowing through this amount of cash in one day is ridiculous, especially since most people don’t budget for it. And though I don’t budget any money for July 4th (or, as most people call it, the 4th of July), I still end up spending more than I have “spending cash” available. But I just can’t bear to look at a savings bucket line item called “fireworks”.

But if I ever need some convincing, I can always plug these number into an investing calculator for some sobering data:

– My $50 invested at 8% over 30 years = $6,117.29. Not too bad. But seriously, that’s an all-inclusive vacation to Jamaica for 10 days!

– The average of $379 invested at 8% over 30 years = $46,369.08! Now that’s a lot of money wasted. UGH!

– My family’s epic fireworks show at $1,000 invested at 8% over 30 years = $122,345.87. O.M.G. Nothing really more to say about this number.

Maybe save some of that money instead?

I highly recommend blowing stuff up.

But maybe, instead of $379 this year, stick to a $100 budget. Buy it on the afternoon of the 4th and the local stand, and negotiate!

Then with the remaining $279, open a high-yield money market account. Put the money away, out of site, out of mind, ya know?

Or maybe open a Roth IRA and really put that money to work! Nothing more American than investing in good ol’ American companies! Vanguard and Fidelity S&P 500 Index Funds are always a great way to go!

What about you?

How much do you spend on fireworks for July 4th? Do you budget for this holiday? Do you feel that your money was well spent? And for fun, tell me your worst 4th of July disaster?

Mine was when my dad lit a mortar shell firework upside-down, along with like 15 other shells, and everyone nearby had to hit the ground to avoid shrapnel.

I dove head first off our dock onto the grass with balls of fire blasting over my head. Not sure how there we no casualties on that one. We even made the spectators at the top of the hill run for cover because of the amount of debris flying through the air. Good times.

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites.Β 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

58 thoughts on “How Much Money Did You “Blow” On Fireworks?”

  1. Wow, that is a LOT of money. I have never spent a penny on fireworks, and to be honest, I don’t think I ever would. They are just lights and they are short lived. I don’t even really like watching them. But I’m an outlier in most situations when it comes to fireworks.

    Reply
    • It really is a TON of money! Funny thing is, we spent $15 this year and my uncle’s spent nothing. One of them ended up heading to some other sucker’s house who dropped $10,000!

      Reply
  2. As a Canadian I spent nothing on 4th of July fireworks. Up here Halloween is really the main holiday that people go all out with fireworks. I used to buy some as a kid to cause some trouble in the neighborhood, but when you get older you feel the need to actually get a license for them and actually have a backyard. Since I’ve lived in apartments for a while, I’d basically have to join the teenagers setting them off in the parks. I’ve never spent hundreds of dollars on it though and probably never would.

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    • That’s interesting. Never seen fireworks on Halloween down here. And unless you have a pyro-itch that you need to scratch, fireworks just really are not worth the money!

      But I love blowin’ stuff up!

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      • Really? I always assumed you did fireworks on both holidays. I guess that would make halloween a lot more family friendly. Around here Halloween turns into a warzone, between fireworks, eggs, shaving cream, etc.

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        • Lol, that sounds pretty nuts. Eggs are the worst, though. I had kids throw and egg at my car once, and if I had power steering at the time, I would have turned around and chased them down!

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  3. For the past 5 or 6 years I haven’t spent a dime on fireworks. I do enjoy watching them though and don’t mind watching other people blow their money (and I get to watch for free).

    I ultimately prefer to find a good firework show in town. We didn’t do anything yesterday though other than relax with some friends and watch a movie.

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    • I haven’t spent over $20 the past few years as well. Maybe it’s something about responsibility and no disposable income…?

      Though it is fun to watch other’s literally burn their cash into a million brightly-colored pieces.

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  4. Yes, why is it that most males find irresistible the idea of exploding stuff? I grew out of my fascination, but I remember clearly the adrenaline rush as a teenager from lighting a cherry bomb or raining bottle rockets onto the roof of a neighbor’s home! My two younger brothers used to cruise around and shoot bottle rockets from a car. Yikes!

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  5. I spent none! Instead we spent the money on a weedwhacker. Well spent in my mind. I actually didn’t even see the fireworks as I fell asleep after playing in the pool for most of the day.

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  6. That is alot of money just as heart breaking as when I did the calculations for buying coffee and lunch at work for 2 co-workers. We have never purchased fireworks here in Canada for Canada Day or July 4th. We typically head down to the park to watch them with the rest of the folks in our community. It’s a good time and worth the few bucks per family to get in. Mr.CBB

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  7. $30 for the small Walmart pack, and I could have done with even less! You literally are lighting your money on fire. Thankfully, our neighbors went red-neck crazy and bought all the good stuff. So it was pretty much a free show for us all night!

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  8. I haven’t bought them in a long time but I enjoy seeing them go off. I’m always a bit nervous that someone will get hurt, and if my kid lost an eye I’d never forgive myself. It’s tough in my state to get the big boom ones, though.

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    • Yea, I’m sure we could have lost some appendages as kids, but thankfully never did. It’ll be tough once my kids are old enough for them, I’m not sure how I’ll handle that.

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    • Sounds like you’re in the desert? With all the fires and stuff going on, probably best not to light them off in the extreme heat. Maybe if you get a mexican border patrol outfit you could smuggle them through….?

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  9. I didn’t spend a dime, but my kids wanted to spend some of their allowance on fireworks. Sigh. My oldest spent $14 and they lasted about 10 minutes. My younger son spent $7 and they only lasted a few minutes. After a few minutes, my younger son said “this is stupid. That was so not worth it!” I think I have a future $marty on my hands! The oldest? We’re working on it. I actually made him do the math and figure how much money per minute he was wasting, and he still didn’t get it. We actually did go to a neighbor’s who spent $6000!!!! It lasted 30 minutes? DUMB!

    Reply
    • $6,000 for 30 minutes?! Wow, that’s lame. As a kid, I’d spend $25 or so, and have enough bottle rockets and firecrackers to last me 2 days, 8 hours a day! I guess it depends on what lights your fuse (I know, I know…..horrible pun). πŸ™‚

      Sounds like your kids are learning the value of money, and how wasted it is when you blow it up! Great lesson.

      Reply
  10. I head on over to a friends house who happens to spend about $2k on fireworks over the year but ends up with $10k worth. I would say that he is much like these advanced grocery shopper types except he does it with the things that go boom. His show is about 1 hour long and the finale is better than 95% of the towns displays. He usually has a 6-12 person team to do lighting and safety. To answer your question, with a friend like this, who needs to buy fireworks? I spend none.

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    • Scary stuff! I’ve had a bottle rocket blow up in my hand, but luckily it was open. I’ve never witnessed firework injury, and hope I never have to. Hope your neighbor recovers soon!

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  11. i spend about 800$ a year some years thousands and that might be ridiculous but in my family its a tradition and this is a big deal in my family spending 50$ on fireworks would give half of my family a heart attack and other half would laugh at me but hey nothing wrong with a budget just not on fireworks

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  12. I’m with those who’ve spent $0 on fireworks. It may change when we have kids old enough to really enjoy fireworks (or kids at all) but when we can go watch a sweet firework show downtown Portland and see tons of families lighting their own around what’s the point in buying our own? I’m not really opposed to buying fireworks, our situation just doesn’t merit it yet.

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  13. We had a quiet evening at home this year, for a change, and spent ZERO on fireworks – woohoo!!! Our worst fireworks disaster was when Rick held 4 sparklers in his hand to light for the kids, not knowing that holding them in close proximity creates a gas that causes an explosion, a literal fireball. 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over the inside of his hand – ouch!!!!!

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  14. I don’t think I have ever spent money on fireworks. I’m one of those that tend to love watching them. Growing up in Northern Jersey, we get to see the NYC fireworks across the Hudson.

    I chuckled picturing your face when you realized $1000 was hundreds of thousands of dollars in 30 years.

    But, I do believe that if you budget for it then one should do the things they enjoy especially when its with loved ones.

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    • Totally agree. If you have $300 to blow, go ahead. Just realize that you are literally burning that money πŸ™‚ If you’re ok with that, then by all means, make it happen!

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  15. $0 – but not because I’m anti-firework; they are banned in the county and I wasn’t around to even consider a drive, heh.

    Reply

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