Don't Let July 4 Blow up Your Budget

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — One of the biggest blowout celebrations of the summer fast approaching, retailers are expecting a banner of a sales boost -- especially with the July 4 Friday providing a true long weekend.

According to the figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent $227 million on fireworks alone for the 4th of July holiday in 2012. Last year, according,

That doesn't take into consideration all of those hamburgers, hot dogs and gallons of potato salad served in backyards across the country for the holiday. Last year, according to a Visa survey, Americans planned to spend $300 on the holiday. But with food prices skyrocketing and gas prices inching up, this year could prove even costlier.

If you don't do some planning, July 4 can definitely blow up your budget, but you can still throw a bang of a bash without spending a lot of money.

Here are some tips on saving some money on your July 4 celebration:

Look for the Sales This Week: If you haven't already started planning your July 4 menu, do it this week around the sales you find in your local paper or coupons from online. "But don't stop there: stock up," says Dawn Wickwire, with "Leading up to the Fourth of July, you'll find the very lowest prices on everything from meats, vegetables, condiments, salad dressings and more that will get you through the summer with great BBQs."

Use Gift Cards: Do you have old gift cards to restaurants that haven't been used yet? If you don't think you're going to use them, go ahead and "cater" some of the food for your party using your gift card. Jeremy Levi, director of marketing for, also recommends purchasing gift cards for a discount to use for your holiday meal.