It's always nice to have some extra cash to throw around when a holiday comes up, but it doesn't always happen. However, it doesn't mean that your holiday celebrations have to be any less fun or feel incomplete in any fashion. It's entirely possible to have a "blast," even when enjoying the 4th of July on a budget.
Here are a few helpful tips:
Host a potluck party
A cookout where everybody contributes their favorite dishes can be a lot of fun, save the host a LOT of work and relax worries about where the money is going to come from. As the host, you can volunteer to provide the meat. Often, immediately prior to the 4th of July, briskets and ribs are deeply discounted at your local supermarket. But, if these items are still a little out of your budget, consider going the very simple route of grilling burgers and hot dogs/brats for your guests. Assign side dishes, desserts and drinks to other partygoers, taking special care to avoid duplications. (Nobody needs SIX dishes of potato salad or beans!)
Decorate on the cheap
While fancy red, white and blue bunting and copious numbers of flags may be ideal decorations for your 4th of July party, this kind of decor can get fairly expensive, fairly quickly. Instead of breaking the bank, opt for more budget-friendly options, or even Do-It-Yourself decorations. Go to the dollar store and purchase several small flags. Incorporate them into crepe paper streamers strung around the back yard. Set out some construction paper, glitter and other crafty supplies and allow your kids to create festive decorations. Add butcher paper to tables, set out crayons and allow children to decorate their own tables. Use balloons, which are always cheap. And, utilize food for centerpieces. A patriotically decorated cake, a fruit plate or other food creations can make great centerpieces. Put up a few twinkle lights (Christmas light strings) in the yard, and your party decorations will be complete.
Opt for inexpensive, old-fashioned entertainment
On a hot day, there isn't anything that children like more than being allowed to run through the sprinkler. Add in a few cheap water guns, and they'll be occupied all day. Adults can be entertained with a competitive game of volleyball or badminton. Or, they might like to play washers or horseshoes. Download some patriotic songs and create a playlist for some background music. Ask if any of your guests have a projector, and show a movie for the kids outside, using a sheet as a screen. The entertainment doesn't have to be elaborate to be fun. And, at the end of the evening, if you're not planning on shooting off your own fireworks (or, if they are not allowed in your community), plan to attend your area's big aerial show as the completion of your party.
Borrow anything you don't have
Purchasing a lot of extra things for your party will burn up your budget quickly. Instead, ask to borrow tables, chairs, lights or anything else you think you might need for your celebration. If you can't find enough seating for everyone, encourage them to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on.
Shop early and pool resources for fireworks
Of course, the 4th of July is all about the big "bang." Your party may be topped off with a fireworks show that will have your guests oohing and ahhhing over the display. Utilize firework coupons and rewards programs like Jake's VIP Rewards to save money and earn free fireworks. Most retailers offer big savings for shopping early - so stat building your fireworks stash early. By encouraging your guests to bring a few fireworks the night of the party or to throw in a few dollars ahead of time to purchase fireworks, you'll have a show that everyone will love. And, the burden won't fall entirely on you. In fact, we've put together a whole list of reasons to coordinate a neighborhood fireworks show.
Go it alone
If you aren't up to planning a big party or aren't invited to one, you can still have a great time on the 4th of July. Most communities have free, festive activities going on, such as parades and a community fireworks show. Take advantage of what your community has to offer that will make your Independence Day special and memorable.