June is coming to a close fast, and that means that it’s almost time to celebrate Independence Day. Yes, the holiday that most people have off from work celebrates the fact that we adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which allowed the thirteen colonies to become independent states. For many people, this holiday is about showing how much we love America. For others, it is simply a day to get together with family and friends and have a party.
If your holiday plans include a celebration with others, you are probably planning to spend some money. Depending on how many people you are inviting and where you are having your party, you could be facing a large bill. Everyone likes to get together and celebrate, and July 4th is a great day to do it. You can celebrate and have fun without breaking the bank, though. Here’s how.
1. Set a budget
If you want to cut costs, you need to set a budget. This should be your goal whenever you are planning any type of party, because without a budget, you are liable to spend on a whim. Your party budget might depend on how many people you are having over, because that will affect how much food you need. You should break your budget down to include all the different aspects of your celebration (food, decorations, and anything else you need.) Once you have your budget, make sure you stick to it. If you need to, print it off and bring it to the store with you. Having set numbers for the different aspects of your party will help you spend less money; otherwise, it’s temping to just pick up more and more decorations (or food) in the spirit of throwing a fun get-together.
2. Host at home
One of the best ways to cut costs when throwing a party is to host at home. In most parts of the country, early July is one of the nicest weather periods in the whole year. If you host at home, you won’t have to pay to rent any location, and you can easily transfer food from outside to inside and back. Adults and kids alike will appreciate having bathrooms nearby.
In addition, you can easily transform your backyard to make it party friendly for very little money: take a few hours to pick up any litter or junk, fix any small landscaping issues, and if you want, rent or purchase a tent: pop-up party tents are usually inexpensive and add shade and also make your backyard look more party ready. Scatter chairs in small groups around your yard so that people can talk to each other. Lastly, if you are hosting a family friendly party, consider having small stations for kids to entertain themselves.
3. Use decorations sparingly
Red, white, and blue decorations can be found almost anywhere; you don’t have to purchase decorations that are specifically designated for July 4th. Try using red, white, and blue streamers. Many people have flags already in their yard. Decorations can be made cheaply at home by following directions on Pinterest. If you are hosting a party for family or close friends, consider adding some personal touches. Instead of buying an expensive brand new table cloth, use an old table cloth or purchase a plain plastic cover and let your kids decorate it; give them red, white, and blue markers, and let them go wild.
Most guests will be more impressed by handmade decorations than they will by ones that you bought at the store. If you do buy decorations, go for non-traditional ones: use bowls of red, white, and blue candy as your table decorations. Even if you do decide to purchase your decorations, don’t go overboard: too many decorations make your party look overdone and cheesy.
4. Save on food
Most guests won’t care if your cupcakes have tiny flags on them, but if you like that finished touch, consider making the flags yourself. Purchase cheap colored serving bowls or plates to brighten up food that you make yourself, rather than ordering holiday catering. Make as much as you can yourself: flag cakes are pretty easy to make at home and are fun to see and eat. Food for the 4th of July is pretty easy in general because most people expect barbeque food, and you don’t need to pay a caterer to make that.
If possible, make your party a potluck. Just because you are hosting doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money on food, or spend many hours cooking. Ask guests to bring food that matches the holiday, either by color or by theme. If you are having a big party, assign people to bring food based on their last name (for example, last names that start with A-F can bring an appetizer, and so on.) Most people love the chance to whip up something impressive to share. You can also make the party a BYOB party if you want; often beverages are the most expensive part of a party, especially on a holiday like the 4th of July.
5. Find cheap entertainment
This one is a little harder, because fireworks are pretty synonymous with this holiday. The laws regarding fireworks, firecrackers, and all things related will depend on where you live, so you might not be able to have any of them at your party anyway. If you live near a part of the city where you can see the fireworks, that is a great party bonus, but if you don’t, consider having your party early in the day. People won’t expect a big finale if you choose your timing wisely.
Much of your party can be centered around socializing and eating, but you will want to provide some entertainment. If you have a way to play music outside, include upbeat and patriotic sounding tunes. Also, consider party games if you have a younger crowd coming. Some fun ideas include word games with patriotic themes (these work for adults too), playing tag, and using sidewalk chalk. You can even make the sidewalk chalk a competition: encourage the kids to draw pictures related to the holiday, and have a small gift to give the person who makes the most patriotic drawings.
The 4th of July is a great time to get together and celebrate our country. People love to barbeque and spend time together on this particular holiday, so it is a great time to throw a party. However, don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money. Set a budget, save on food and decorations, and if necessary, ask your friends if you can borrow things. There’s no reason for you to go and rent a dozen chairs when your friends could just bring their own.