Hosting a cookout is a common way for Americans to celebrate the 4th of July. This holiday helps signal the official start of summer, which means a few months of warm weather, sunshine, and hopefully some time off from work or school. It’s the season of the year that many look forward to, partly because of the classic food you’ll always find on someone’s grill: hamburgers.
With this in mind, we decided to take a closer look at how the cost varies across the country. We conducted a study to find the average cost of one home-cooked burger in each state — read on for our full methodology and findings.
We gathered local prices from national or regional retailers to find the average cost of each ingredient necessary for a standard, home-cooked hamburger. This includes price data for 85% lean/15% fat ground beef, Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, a sweet onion, hamburger buns, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, a tomato, pickles, and lettuce. We calculated the price for each ingredient in the quantity required for one burger, then summed these costs to find the overall cost of one burger.
While each person has their own preference on toppings and serving sizes, this selection provides us with a standard means of comparison between states.
The prices come from Walmart retailers in up to 10 zip codes in each state. The zip codes chosen are a mix of urban and rural areas to get a representation of different parts of each state. The numbers reflect prices only, taken from the retailers, and do not reflect any additional taxes or fees. These also do not account for the cost of cooking or other preparation.
Our analyzed data revealed notable differences across the nation. Luckily for all 50 states, none of the prices are catastrophic. However, these results illustrate how small price changes can add up to significant differences in total cost, especially if you’re cooking for a large group.
Arizona comes in as the cheapest state for hamburgers overall at $2.16. This is still pricier than a burger at many fast food restaurants, but at least you’re getting a higher quality meal that you can cook exactly how you want. The next four states on our list are Maryland ($2.18), Delaware ($2.18), Pennsylvania ($2.21), and Idaho ($2.23).
The most expensive burger overall comes from Hawaii, totalling $2.75 on average. This is logical, considering the added challenge and cost of transporting food to the islands. The next four priciest states are Minnesota ($2.74), Alaska ($2.71), South Dakota ($2.66), and Ohio ($2.60).
We also noticed some notable regional trends in our data. Apparently, the Midwest isn’t the best place to be if you want to make a cheap hamburger. On average a burger will cost you $2.46 in this region, which is higher than what it would cost in the West ($2.39), Northeast ($2.36), or South ($2.32). In fact, six of the top 10 priciest states for a burger are located in the Midwest.
If you live in one of the states or regions that is more expensive for hamburgers, there are still many ways you can save money when shopping or budgeting. Follow these tips to save money or get some back from your purchases:
Some people love tomatoes while others love bacon. Whichever category you fall into, make sure you’re not wasting money by spending extra on toppings you don’t care about. Either skip the unnecessary ones or buy the generic brand, then you’ll feel comfortable spending a little extra on the garnishes you really love.
Some credit cards will give you up to 5% cash back when you shop at grocery stores. This percentage might not seem like a lot, but it will add up, and could close the margin between your state and one of the less expensive ones. Just make sure you always pay your credit card bill on time so you avoid accruing interest.
Every major grocery store offers sales, so make sure to check out the weekly ad at the store or online. Use apps like Flipp or Shopular to find all of the sales and circulars in your area. Additionally, look for manufacturer or store coupons you can apply on top of the sale price. Many grocery retailers now offer coupons you can find on their app or website.
You may be overspending in ways you aren’t even aware of. Use apps such as Clarity or Mint to track where your money goes. You’ll be able to set budgets and better see how much that daily coffee run is costing you, then allocate some of that saved money for top-notch burgers instead.
A great, home-cooked burger doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re careful about your spending you may end up with extra money if you make a gourmet batch at home rather than a basic order from a fast food joint.
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