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By: Angela Caban
The 4th of July has always been a very special holiday for our household. We are celebrating the birth of our great nation, and as a military family, this has a significant meaning to us. But even though we like to imagine elaborate cookouts – perfectly decorated, fireworks and parades, all in the same day – it isn’t smart to overspend for one day. This holiday can be rough financially, especially since it is in the summer and many are planning around vacations. So, through the years that my family and I have celebrated the holiday, we have held on to some fun – yet budget friendly ideas for spending the 4th of July.
Here are seven things to consider when planning your 4th of July fun with your family:
Save on the matching outfits. I don’t even want to imagine how much money is spent yearly on matching 4th of July outfits. Of course it is cute to have the kids or family match; however, you don’t have to buy all new outfits for the day’s events. Find an already red, white or blue piece of clothing in your closet and alternate colors throughout the family. Last year my husband and I wore white, and the kids red and blue. Don’t want an entire outfit? You can also accessorize with a less expensive item, like an American flag necklace or hat.
Host a potluck cookout. Gone are the days where hosting a cookout on your own is financially feasible. Keep the costs of hosting a cookout down by asking each guest to bring an item. Keep track of the items assigned, so you don’t wind up with 5 potato salads. How about decorations on a budget? You can always find some inexpensive party decorations at your local dollar store, or get creative and make some yourself. Pinterest has some fun decoration ideas that are inexpensive.
Cool treats for the family. Regardless if we have friends and family over, I always like to make some fun patriotic snacks for the kids. Each year I spend less than 8 dollars to make a fun Flag Cake that is not only delicious, it feeds 12! This is perfect for just the family or during that potluck cookout.
Search for free local activities. Looking for a fun event? Do a search for local 4th of July events in your area. The great thing is that almost anywhere, you will find parades, live music, and fun activities for kids – all for free!
Visit a National Park or Museum. Did you know this year the National Park Service turns 100 years old? Entrance is FREE for current active-duty military and their dependents as well as most members of the National Guard and US Reserves. Plan your visit here.
Through Blue Star Museums the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and US Reserves, receive FREE admission to many of our countries museums from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Check out the list for more information and museums participating this summer. Why not take advantage for the 4th of July?
Plan a year in advance. Perhaps the smartest time to shop is right after the holiday. Stores will mark down all holiday decorations and clothing. There you go, next year’s festivities on a budget!
Skip the expensive fireworks. I know, what is the 4th of July without fireworks? However, in 2014, consumers spent $695 million total on fireworks for their own homes. Yikes! So, if you want to see some fireworks visit one of the free events in your area or purchase some sparklers. In the end, they are safer, inexpensive and so very sparkly.