Three-day weekends are always a good excuse for an impromptu party, and when that extra day of fun and relaxation appears on the calendar thanks to the Fourth of July, it’s absolutely cause for celebration — especially considering we did not get to properly gather last year. You don’t have to plan a big, elaborate party to get the gang together.
A last-minute Independence Day celebration — from yard games to cocktails — can be done on the fly without breaking the bank. And a little frugality can turn the celebration of our independence into greater financial independence over time.
Set the table
On the Fourth of July, the best seat in the house isn’t even in the house: it’s outdoors. The backyard is an ideal location for an Independence Day get-together. If you don’t have a backyard, or somewhere big enough to accommodate all of your friends and family, take advantage of the numerous beautiful parks throughout the Kansas City area. It does not matter where the party is. As long as you are all celebrating together, you’re sure to have a good time.
If you’re hosting your gang’s Fourth of July party this year, I would absolutely recommend going the potluck route. On top of taking some of the party-hosting pressure off of you as you save yourself the hassle of cooking for and cleaning up after all of your guests, a potluck also ensures that everyone has something they will enjoy.
You could also ask that your guests BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat), you’ll just need to fire up the grill and provide some sides. Easy side dishes like pasta salad or grilled corn on the cob are always crowd-pleasers and are easy on the wallet. Of course, you’ll want something to wash down all of this summertime goodness, which brings me to my next point.
A cool drink on a hot, summer day is a thing of beauty. Every party needs that signature drink, and a quick google search will lead you down a rabbit hole of endless recipes.
For awesome looking layered drinks, pay attention to the sugar content. The layer in your drink with the most sugar should be at the bottom, and you should build up from there. Try cranberry-apple juice, white Sobe Piña Colada, and blue Gatorade for the kids. This is a hit in our house for any summer party. For the kids over 21, try a half-part grenadine, 1-part vodka, and 1-part Blue Curaçao. For an added touch, serve these cool cocktails in existing glasses you have or mason jars (which can be bought for less than a dollar per jar) and garnish with a skewered stack of cut strawberries, bananas and blueberries.
Oh say can you see
Decorating for the Fourth of July is as easy as red, white, and blue — while keeping you in the black. No doubt you already have these popular, primary colors in your cabinet or pantry. Use standard red party cups, white napkins and a bit of blue ribbon, and you’ve got a themed place setting.
You can even include festive, easy-to-make pinwheels for your little ones. These aren’t the only patriotic printables you can find online. Free banners, signs and even photo booth props are available on the web. If you would rather purchase your decorations rather than take the DIY route, your local dollar or big-box store should be fully stocked with all things Independence Day.
For outdoor decorations, put the kids to work beautifying the driveway. Offer a bucket of sidewalk chalk or bust out the cornstarch and make your own sidewalk chalk paint. While you’re waiting for the sun to set and fireworks to start, pass out glow sticks. They’re a great way to keep little ones entertained while the big kids (aka the parents) get the fireworks set up.
Fourth of July might be the easiest, least expensive holiday to throw a party for, as long as you choose not to go overboard with the fireworks.
A backyard potluck with your family and friends is sure to make for an Independence Day celebration that is well deserved after this past year. And if throwing a Fourth of July party is not in the books for your family this year, don’t worry. Plenty of Independence Day activities are happening all around the city. There is sure to be something fun out there for the whole family to enjoy this Fourth of July.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.