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Enjoy the 4th on a Budget

Celebrating Independence Day is typically the highlight of the summer. This 4th of July, celebrate the birth of our nation while still keeping your costs low with a few tips.

4th of July on a budget

Our Founding Fathers wanted July 4th to be remembered through "fun and games and fireworks." The day commemorates the adoption by all 13 colonies of the Declaration of Independence.


Make it simple and just use paper plates and/or bowls to make cleaning up after a breeze. Red, white, and blue decor is easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. If the 4th of July decorations are too expensive, just get the individual components in the different colors of the flag. White plates, red cups, blue napkins... you get the picture. This will likely be less expensive than decor that is specifically for the day.

Twist together streamers in red, white, and blue rather than purchasing bunting. And add some red, white, and blue balloons to make it even more festive. If you have it in the budget, a small vase of red, white, and blue carnations will make a pretty centerpiece with a few red, white, and blue votive candles to set the mood later.

For your big "statement piece," print out the Declaration of Independence and frame it. Place this somewhere people can relax for a few minutes and remind themselves why we celebrate this day.

Intimate Gathering

Instead of having a large get-together, choose to have something more intimate. Family or close friends can make for a nice gathering. With a smaller group, you can have more meaningful conversations and spend quality time. Having a smaller group also means less to spend on food and drink. Save even more by sharing the cost for munchies by having either a potluck or having each guest bring something.

Food and Drink

Speaking of food and beverage, keep your budget in check by shopping sales and choosing less-expensive ingredients. For example, instead of hamburgers and hot dogs, forego the expensive ground beef, opt for inexpensive pork, and make pulled pork sliders instead. Make your own potato and/or macaroni salad to save compared to the prepared versions from the store. Or, save even more by making your own coleslaw to go with those tasty sliders!

Keep everyone cool with pitchers of iced tea available. You could even make an iced tea bar so folks can make their own chilled beverages. Keep plenty of ice on hand and brew up a few gallons of different teas. Regular iced tea, decaf black tea, green tea, and a tisane are all great choices.

Have sweeteners like finely granulated sugar, sugar substitutes, agave, honey, and even flavored syrups available for guests to customize their beverages. Include slices or wedges of lemon and lime along with some mint sprigs for more flavor and garnish. If it's in the budget, peaches, strawberries, and raspberries are delightful for adding (and even muddling) into teas.

For those who don't want tea, keep a few bottles of sparkling water on hand and let guests make their own sodas with different syrups.

Fun and Games

Keep the festivities going with outdoor fun like cornhole, ladder ball, and flying disks. If the kids are coming, tell parents to bring bathing suits or a change of clothes and have a water balloon fight.


Find out when and where your local fireworks will be presented. If possible (and only if it's allowed), drive one car up early to hold the ideal viewing spot for everyone, then drop guests off at the spot a little before the show and park the second car further away. This way, everybody gets to see that amazing light show.

If you don't want to go out and get stuck in those crowds, there are plenty of fireworks shows that are broadcast throughout the evening. Check online to see what's streaming in your time zone.

How are you celebrating our nation's birthday this year? Share with us!

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