If you’re spending the summer on campus or at home working at the country club, you’re probably watching your budget. But hosting a Fourth of July party is not out of the question, despite what you have saved in your checkings account.
Follow these tips to throw a frugal but super fun Fourth of July party.
The truth is that grilling is expensive. The cost of meat, fish, buns, veggies and condiments really adds up. Not to mention, you’ll spend your whole time cooking brats while your guests are enjoying the fireworks. To make your dollar stretch, put a patriotic twist on foods that go a long way.
Casseroles: Nothing says America like grandma’s homemade casserole. They’re cheap and fairly easy to make. Don’t be shy about asking your guests to bring food. Most of them are dying to show off that secret family casserole recipe.
Chili: To save money, host a chili cook-off. No one can deny that Americans like to get competitive every once in a while. Have family and friends bring their best crock pot of chili, and find some taste-testing judges to pick the winner. You can use some of the money you save to purchase a prize, maybe a $20 gift card.
Or be super patriotic and whip up a pot of President Obama’s chili. This is the prez’s real recipe and one of his favorite dishes at potlucks.
Lasagna: Okay, so maybe lasagna is Italian cuisine, but a lot of your guests will be sick of grilling out by the time Fourth of July rolls around. Try a healthy lasagna recipe and stick little American flag tooth picks in each piece to show your patriotism.
Rather than purchasing paper hats and streamers, which you’ll toss out along with the half-eaten burgers, see what you have lying around the house. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for glass vases and bowls, and spice them up by tying red, white and blue ribbons around them. These items are versatile and can be used for any occasion.
Honor veterans at your party: See if any of your family members have World War II memorabilia in the attic. You can also display your American pride by honoring veterans outside of Memorial Day. Place photos of family members that are, or have at one time, served our country.
Colorful and edible centerpieces: Put out something edible like bowls of red, white and blue jellybeans or a decorative dish of blueberries and strawberries. Your guests will appreciate the favors, and your centerpieces can double-up as desserts and appetizers.
Keep in mind that many of their paper products sold in party stores are over-priced. Check out dollar-stores, which are filled to the brim with decorations, invitations and even party favors.
Pass on the fireworks
Fireworks can eat up your budget pretty quickly. Plus, in the wrong hands, they are simply not safe, and most cities have placed restrictions on when and where your can shoot off certain kinds of fireworks. To play it safe and save money, have your guests watch the local fireworks show by hosting a fireworks viewing at your party.
Make it comfortable: Gather up blankets and lawn chairs so your family and friends can enjoy the show.
Go to the local park: Chances are, you and your guests will get the best view in town if you relocate the party to the city park. Find volunteers with minivans to help carpool your guests.
There you have it – your complete guide to hosting an awesome and budget-friendly Fourth of July party.