No matter how you plan to spend the Independence Day holiday weekend, it will likely cost money.
Whether you will be traveling, entertaining or simply staying home with family – Independence Day is a time of celebration and celebration can be expensive.
Here are some ways to cut costs without trimming the fun:
According to USA Today, AAA Travel estimated that 41 million people would travel 50 miles or more during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This represents an increase of nearly two percent from the 40.3 million who traveled last year.
As for accommodations, Taxslayer.com suggested checking websites like Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), Living Social, Travelocity and Orbitz (NYSE: OWW) for last minute holiday deals.
GasBuddy has a mobile app that can help you save on gasoline by entering the ZIP code where you are located or using the GPS feature. The app will then list the location of stations with the cheapest gas prices in the area.
If you long for a beach but don’t necessarily need to be where there is saltwater, consider a lake or river destination. Ocean related vacations are generally much more expensive than other water-oriented options.
National and State Parks offer camping options if you don’t mind roughing it. Best of all, the cost is considerably less than staying in a motel or hotel.
Related Link: Palm Springs Named in Top Ten Affordable 4th of July Destinations
Getting friends and family together for a party on the Fourth doesn’t have to break the bank, according to Money Crashers.
Stores like Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR) are a great resource for inexpensive decorations including balloons, tablecloths and plastic-ware all in patriotic red, white and blue colors. Money Crashers also suggests that when it comes to decorations “less is more.” Don’t go overboard.
When it comes to food, start by making a list of who is coming and plan accordingly. Look for coupons in the newspaper or on websites such as Coupon Mom or Coupons.com (NYSE: COUP).
Hot dogs are less expensive than burgers or steaks, easier to handle and probably just as welcome at a party where people focus more on mingling than munching.
Asking guests to bring a side dish, potato chips or a dessert is perfectly acceptable for an informal get-together. Adding BYOB to the invitation is another good way to save and it's not considered out of line with friends and family.
On the entertainment side of the ledger, fireworks are expected but providing your own can be expensive and, in many locales, illegal. Find out where a local public fireworks display will take place and arrange for safe transportation to take your guests there at the end of the day.
Related Link: DefenderPad Announces 4th of July Super Sale
For “Stay At Homers”
Staying at home with the family is the least expensive option for celebrating the Fourth. All of the tips that apply to hosting a party hold true for a small private gathering – at much less cost.
If you want to stay home and camp at the same time, set up a tent in the backyard. Spice things up by moving the television to the deck or patio – if practical – and have a family “drive-in” experience by renting holiday-themed movies, like Independence Day, Jaws or The Patriot.
For fireworks, watch Public Broadcasting Service’s A Capital Fourth on your "outdoor" television or if you absolutely must have real fireworks (and they are legal where you live) check out a local fireworks warehouse as opposed to a stand. Warehouse operations tend to be less expensive and offer much more variety.
Have Fun Frugally
No matter how you celebrate Independence Day, having a safe, fun and festive holiday experience can be done on a budget. There is no need to go overboard. At the end of the day, the real fun is more about being with family and friends than it is seeing how much you can spend.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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