The Real Cost of Eating 72 Hot Dogs Like Joey Chestnut Did on July 4

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Q: What’s more American than a hot dog?

A: 72 hot dogs.

That’s how many full franks reigning champ Joey Chestnut downed in 10 minutes to win yesterday’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This construction manager turned pro eater holds 40 records in everything from apple pie to burritos, according to Nathan’s hall of fame. (And yes, we’ve got “how to become a pro eater” on our to-do list now, so stay tuned.)

Cost of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

Chestnut got this gargantuan Fourth of July lunch for free, of course. Unless you count the opportunity cost of never enjoying a hot dog ever again.

Or the physical price his body is probably paying today.

If he’d ordered the fare at host Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Stand in Coney Island, New York, he’d have paid $2.49 each, or $179.28. Add sales tax of 8.9% for a total of $195.24.

That’s an expensive meal. Hope he relished it. (And you thought the dad jokes would end with the fireworks.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Dana, let’s be reasonable. If I wanted to eat 72 hot dogs, I wouldn’t waste money ordering them at a restaurant. I’d make them myself.

Smart move.

So, a five-pack of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs is $4.98 at Walmart. For 72, you’ll need 15 packages, so you’ll fork over $74.70.

And don’t forget, Chestnut downed 72 buns, too. He soaked them in water to make them easier to eat. Clever trick, if also the grossest thing ever.

An eight-pack of buns at Walmart will run you just 84 cents, so you’ll spend $7.56 there.

That’s a grand total of $82.26 to ketchup with the champ.

But we know you can do it cheaper.

How to Save Money on Hot Dogs

If you want to shop — and eat — like a Penny Hoarder, you’ll want to download a rebate app to save money.

Our favorite is Ibotta, which gives you cash back on your hot dogs and buns — and even healthy staples like milk and bananas.

But who ever heard of a banana-eating contest? (Add “cream pie” to that equation, though? Now we’ve got a competition.)

To save on your hot dogs all summer — and all your groceries — here’s how to get started with Ibotta:

  1. Sign up with Ibotta here, using your name and email address.
  1. Browse the cash-back offers in your area, and note them next time you go shopping. For example, today there’s a deal for 75 cents cash back on McCormick beef franks and 50 cents cash back on a few kinds of mustard. If you’re a ketchup person (we won’t tell), you can get 50 cents back on a bottle of Sir Kensington’s.
  1. Snap a picture of your receipt with the app when you get home, and your cash-back reward will be added to your account within 48 hours.

Plus, you’ll get a $10 cash-back bonus when you redeem your first receipt! That’s no weenie of an offer.

Save Money on Groceries, No Matter What You Buy

I know you’re wondering why we’re talking about a hot dog contest. Frankly, we mustard lost our minds, right?

Nope. We’re dead serious. We’ll take any chance we can to remind you of all the ways you can save money. Like this: Here’s how to save on groceries every time you shop.

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).