This summer sure is flying by! It feels like the weather only just warmed up, and now we’re just over two weeks away from the 4th of July! The Fourth has been my favorite holiday for years because my parents always throw a fantastic party at their lake house, so I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve picked up from them over the years on how to throw a 4th of July party on a budget.
Buy in bulk instead of making everything by hand. This is especially helpful if you’re having a big crowd. Purchasing individual ingredients to make each dish yourself may be a little cheaper, but for the amount of food you may need, it’ll cost you in time. You can buy big tubs of coleslaw, potato salad, and other cookout favorites from Sam’s Club or another warehouse store for a relatively low price. If you plan to supply alcohol, it’s often cheaper to buy beer at these places too, depending on where you live.
Ask your guests to bring either a side dish or dessert. If you supply the main dish, such as barbeque or hot dogs and hamburgers, it will save you a bundle (and lots of time!) to have your guests help with the rest of the meal.
Start buying ingredients for you dishes now if you find them on sale. Many perishable items can be frozen, so you can stock up on sale items now and still have them fresh on party day.
Nothing says Fourth of July like red, white, and blue decorations! Don’t bother going to Party City or some other expensive party store. The dollar store has everything you need, from American flag plates and napkins to patriotic table cloths and centerpieces. Shopping at the dollar store for any party or holiday décor is a great way to save, actually, so check out our blog post Confessions of a Dollar Store Shopper.
If you don’t have any lawn games, ask your guests to bring theirs, because they’ll be a huge hit at the party! At my parents’ party, we always have some competitive badminton games, plus horseshoes and corn hole. Put out some Frisbees and water guns for the kids (available at the dollar store, too!) and everyone will be entertained.
One of my favorite parts of my parents’ party is watching fireworks with the rest of the guests. We walk down the hill to the water to watch the fireworks show that’s put on across the lake. If your home isn’t in a convenient location for fireworks, consider holding the party at a local park with a picnic shelter or somewhere else with a good view of the show. The advantage to this is that a park has plenty of built-in entertainment, but a disadvantage is that it may be difficult to transport all that food.
Have you ever thrown a 4th of July party? What are your best tips for celebrating the Fourth on a budget?