This year's July 4 holiday falls smack in the middle of the workweek, making getaways tricky for those tied down to a full-time job. What's more, anyone trying to plan a last-minute vacation will find prices on airfare and hotels extremely high.
Commemorating our country's independence need not require luxury digs in a remote location by the beach, however. A good old-fashioned barbecue with family and friends is a fun way to enjoy the holiday while keeping things cheap.
If you're looking to do something a little different than the common grill fest, consider these tips for making the most of Independence Day without blowing your bank account.
Organize a fun day of softball at a local field or park with family and friends. Assign blue and red teams and request that members wear the appropriate colors. Otherwise, pick up some cheap tees at Target. Pack a cooler with beverages, sandwiches and snacks, and let the games begin!
Coordinate a Block Party
Turn a traditional backyard barbecue into an all-out block party with friends, family and neighbors. Assign each participating household a certain style of food or drink and keep the party moving between houses. Keep things festive by requesting hot dogs, burgers and beer as inexpensive, all-American celebration staples and test your creative skills with DIY decorations. LearnVest explains how to make star-spangled ice buckets on the cheap that are sure to impress your neighbors.
Plan a Picnic
Take your family or significant other on a picnic, either on top of a mountain, by a lake or at the park near your home. Prepare your own finger foods and side dishes like coleslaw and pigs in a blanket to resemble traditional 4th of July grub. Download a few printable games to pump up the fun, which may include Independence Day trivia and a scavenger hunt for kids.
Shop 'Til You Drop
There's no better time to shop than on the 4th of July when retailers offer firework-worthy sales where you can scoop up back-to-school clothes and other merchandise at great prices. If you don't dare battle the crowd at the mall or outlet center, check out the deals available online. FreeShipping.org features an entire page dedicated to Independence Day discounts, making it easy to find the best sales in one place.
Tackle a Major Task
Between work, caring for kids and everyday chores, who has time to clear out the attic or paint the trim? Take this time off to tackle one of those large projects weighing over your head. Recruit help from family in exchange for some BBQ fare to keep things festive. Completing the task will give you a sense of accomplishment so you can relax during the rest of the summer weekends.
Get a jumpstart on your quest for a healthier and fitter lifestyle when the sun is shining. Carve out some time in the morning to go for a run, hike or bike ride--or plan a whole day around an adventurous activity. Better yet, sign up for a 4th of July race for the ultimate challenge. Check out Independence Day race listings in your area on Active.com.
Find a Free Firework Show
Instead of driving neighbors and dogs crazy this year with at-home fireworks, attend a public display which will also save you some cash. Find a free firework event in your area by reviewing this list.
Make Some Extra Cash
Everyone could use a little extra cash to help offset large expenses like a summer vacation or new car. 4th of July may be the perfect time to offer up your services. You could babysit, paint or even walk dogs for people who are away over the holiday. Promote the jobs you're willing to do along with a proposed fee online at TaskRabbit. If you have an extra bedroom in a popular tourist post or by the beach, put it up for rent on Roomarama where last-minute travelers look for cheap hotel alternatives.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!