2 times a year, I make my way to the fireworks store/stand to make a purchase of things that pop, light up, smoke, sizzle, dazzle, sparkle, streak, and go boom.  Usually, when I take a look at the vast array of products, the first two questions that pop in my head are 'What does this do?' and 'How much does it cost'. 

Since I usually wait until the last possible minute to buy fireworks, there is a ton of other customers and I just usually buy one of those huge 'value' packs of fireworks and maybe one canister of the big balls that make the big booms and call it a day.

Am I wasting a lot of money by not being a more selective shopper?  I did some research this year and the answer is.... Not really.

If you are on an extremely tight budget and have only $20 - $40 total to spend, then it's usually best to try to get the most 'events' for your dollar.  In other words, if you buy a roman candle that has a total of 10 shots...that's 10 events.  Try your best to get the most events per dollar, especially if smaller kids are involved.  The longer you can make your fireworks last, the better, even if you don't have a big finale at the end.

Most of your better value packs start at $45 or above, so this might be priced out of your budget.  Here's a good website for some fireworks that might fit around a tighter budget.

Here's a few more quick tips -  If possible, shop at least a couple of days ahead so that you have time to compare different stands and their prices.  There can usually be a wide variance for the same product.  Remember, some of these fireworks stands are trying to make money for their charity and for their supplier.  That can result in a pretty healthy markup.  Also, buy one and get whatever number free deals are always the value their cracked up to be.  Take your calculator and actually compare these incentives.

What about wanting to find out specifically what those fireworks at the stands will do.  Well, Black Cat Fireworks is one of the most trusted names in the business and they do a great job on their website of posting information and videos of what some of the fireworks will do and what they will look like.

Back to my specific question for myself, are the value packs a good bargain?  The answer is mostly yes.  You usually get a good cross section of the fireworks available in one of those value packs (usually priced at $75 and above).  Plus, you will save a few bucks as opposed to trying to buy the fireworks individually, plus you'll also save time in the store.

Probably the biggest amount of money that can be saved is by buying from wholesalers online.  Many will throw in a good amount of free fireworks depending upon the amount that you order.  Now, of course, it's too late to order for this July 4th, but check out these online vendors for future needs.