The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.
If you are anything like me, you like to hang out with friends or family without spending a ton of money. With July 4th around the corner, I was thinking of some ideas for frugal fun. Believe it or not, you can have a great 4th of July party without hurting the family’s finances if you use these simple tips.
Fourth of July – Potluck
You can save yourself and your friends a ton if you all contribute to a potluck. Each party attendee simply brings a dish to the gathering. My friends and I send out a group and email and respond to the whole group with what we are planning to contribute. That helps to avoid having too many duplicate dishes. It also leads to having a bunch of yummy options without people spending more than $5-$20 per party.
Fourth of July – Skip the Grocery Store
Many people, including me, have resorted to going to their local grocery store at the last minute to buy food and party items. With an hour of advanced preparation, you can hit a discount warehouse for supplies and whip up a quick dish at home. My husband and I buy our supplies in bulk from Sam’s Club. I also have several quick recipes that work for any potluck – cookies, brownies, bbq chicken, fruit salad, or even fresh-from-a-tube French bread all take less than 30 minutes of work and are appreciated by everyone.
Fourth of July – Host your Own Fireworks Display
Instead of wasting gas to travel downtown or to a remote location, you can have a fireworks celebration in your own backyard. If you live in a no-fireworks zone, you can pick up a few packs of sparklers and have your own little tribute at home. If you live in an open fireworks zone like us, you can mooch off your neighbors by watching all of their fireworks popping off over your house.
In our case, we just sit in our front yard and watch the neighbors’ displays since there are several families with children who seem to spend a ton every year to impress them. I think they appreciate my clapping too!
Fourth of July – Keep the Action Outside
Create a bunch of fun activities, events, and games that everyone can play outdoors. A lot of energy is wasted during holiday weekend with people constantly coming in and out of the house. Keeping the action outdoors will allow you to keep the use of televisions, air conditioning, and electronic games to a minimum.
My friends and I hang outdoors with a kiddie pool, a Frisbee, a Bocci ball set, a barbecue grill, or Cowboy Golf. Our family has been known to play volleyball in their pool or drink around the outdoor tables while snacking away on potluck foods.
What other tips can you think of for a frugal and fun Fourth of July?