How To Celebrate 4th of July on a Budget


There seems to be one holiday right after the other these days!

Memorial Day has recently passed. Celebrating the birthday of our country, while still thinking of the brave heroes we just remembered, is quickly approaching. In keeping with our patriotic sense of red white and blue, here are some ways to celebrate a little differently and still keep it affordable.


To start the festivities, spangle your lawn with stars using a poster board star stencil and regular baking flour. Have someone hold the stencil tightly against the ground while another carefully sprinkles the white stars into a showy display. Clean up is easy with the help of a little rain!

Decorate inside the house with edible banners comprised of single-serving chip bags, if possible, in appropriate colors. Clip them on a string with gem clips or clothespins for easy access. Add bags of pop rocks to the lineup for a mouthful of crackling fireworks. These banners won’t be wasteful and only the wrappers will wind up in the trash, making them a big bang for your buck!


To work up the appetites, start with a friendly softball or kickball game. Have the teams pre-determined and wearing red T-shirts for one and blue for the other. We know what mid-July feels like in most locations, so be sure to take along a cooler full of bottled, iced waters. I have found that although free, printed labels for water bottles don’t hold up well in a cooler. For a more practical purpose, wrap a few strands of wired, patriotic foil stars around each bottle to make even the losing team feel proud.


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If you are gathering with a group, host a patriotic potluck picnic. Give everyone a heads up and time to get creative. Give each guest a category so you won’t wind up with a table full of desserts. Although that might not be a bad thing! Some options might be a summer-ish crab salad made with star-shaped pasta. If the stars are too small, add some “stripes” using basic, straight noodles. Or use a combination of red white and blue vegetables and fruits for salads and desserts; such as red tomatoes, red bell peppers, radishes, strawberries, watermelon, white onions, cauliflower, bananas and blueberries. If finding colored foods that everyone will eat is a problem, there are now safe and natural food colorings to help you color most anything.


For relaxing entertainment, find a free firework show to save on purchasing them yourself, which will also avoid freaking out the pets. Usually, the firework shows are isolated and away from homes, far enough in the distance that it won’t make the pups panic. If you prefer a quiet night at home but the kids are still in hyper mode for lights, have a glow in the dark firework hunt in your own yard.

Keep the kids busy by letting them make the “fireworks” while the adults get the food ready. You can then fill them with glow lights, candy or any small surprises. Scatter them in the yard for the little ones to easily see. Add a small level of challenge for the older kids by placing some in inconspicuous places, yet where they will still spot the glow. Sort of a patriotic Easter egg hunt. Here are the complete instructions.

Tip: Start saving your toilet paper rolls now! Finish up the night with some simple sparklers for a grand finale that says Happy Birthday U.S.A.!


Celebrating on a budget is definitely doable. Low-cost games and entertainment, budget decor and sharing food costs will make that happen. Bolstered by the treasure of family and friends, nothing can beat this combo when you want to celebrate, remember and be thankful.

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