Ways to Save Money On Your 4th of July Cookout

Cooking burgers at home is three times cheaper than celebrating the 4th of July at a restaurant this year, according to Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute.

Ingredients for a home-cooked, quarter-pound hamburger cost much less than at a restaurant. A burger with cheese, tomato, and lettuce costs $2.16 at home, with labor done by family or friends.

At a restaurant, the same burger costs $6.95 on average. This is based on prices at five fast-food restaurants.

Supermarket inflation has cooled. The mid-June Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food at home rose just 1%, compared to almost 6% last year. Restaurants, however, are different. The mid-June CPI for food away from home rose 4%, driven by rising labor costs.

"If you're trying to save money, it is a great time to fire up your grill and build your own burger at home," said Courtney Schmidt from Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute. "It's always been cheaper to eat at home, but we are seeing a widening of that spread."

"Only 30% of restaurant costs are related to food. The other 70% covers labor, convenience, and overhead costs," Schmidt explained.

Making your own potato salad can save you money. White potatoes cost around $0.96 per pound, 4.4% less than last year. Prepared potato salad at the grocery store also costs less than at a restaurant, with prices down 0.7%.

However, don't expect to save on chips. Potato chip prices were up 2.7% in mid-June compared to last year. This might set you back, but hopefully not enough to skip them.

Salsa prices are up 2.5%, while guacamole dropped 1.1%, according to NielsenIQ. Seasonal fruit costs are roughly in line with inflation, so consider a fruit plate.

Aluminum costs have increased prices of 12-ounce soda cans by almost 5%. Save on beverages by buying two-liter bottles of soda, which are down 6%, according to the BLS.

"Bring out the cups and share to save money," Schmidt suggested.