Jess Reiche

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Frugal Summer Fun Series: 4th of July

Today is July 2nd but chances are you’re planning for the 4th. The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays because no gifts are exchanged, it’s usually centered around food and often ends with a firework display. Sounds like a frugal holiday to me!

If you’re looking to have a cheap holiday, I’d suggest not looking at Pinterest! Although a site dedicated to inspiration and fun, you may feel tempted to run out to the arts and craft store or grocery store and spend money you weren’t planning on spending.

Feeling decorative crafty? Check out the dollar store. My local Dollar Tree has a lot of decorations, tableware, partyware and even craft supplies all for $1. I think I’ve even seen glow in the dark bracelets there!

Feeling food crafty? Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Cool whip, and Vanilla Yogurt can all be used to creatively make an American Flag parfait or dessert. Or how about making skewers: alternating berries and marshmallows? Use what you have or what you can find on sale at the grocery store!

Feeling hungry? BBQing doesn’t need to be expensive. Lately there is at least 1 brand of hot dogs on B1G1 sale each week and there are often coupons around – sometimes burgers too! Skip the expensive pre-made potato salad and opt for something easy and homemade or just some snacks that are on sale! has had coupons for Kettle Chips, Cape Cod chips and Utz on sale – pair those with a sale and you have some cheap chips in all different flavors. Also, don’t be afraid to try store brand items — many times if you look at the ingredients, the store brand is HEALTHIER than big name brands. Yes, really. Buy some seasonal fruit and watermelon you have some healthy snacks. Corn on the cob is at a great price and a way to get a vegetable in your mouth šŸ˜‰ And unless it’s on sale, skip the soda and opt for homemade or powder mix lemonade and iced tea. You’ll definitely get more for your money and won’t have to worry about it going flat within a day. Also consider skipping the bottled water and buying gallons of water with cups for refilling.

Activities are cheap too. Check out your local parks and playgrounds for easy, free kid entertainment. Go for a walk or hike on a local trail. Take a bike ride. For little kids, bubbles, chalk and a sprinkler will keep them set for a day at home. Look at your newspaper or local radio station’s website for a listing of fireworks. Most of them don’t have a fee šŸ™‚

But, UGH, what if it turns out to be a rainy day? Here are some plan B activities: how about doing an indoor picnic or building a huge fort for the whole family to play in? Visit Redbox and pick up some movies the whole family can enjoy together. Or why don’t you be that wild and crazy cool mom and take the kids outside to go play in the rain? Feeling like educating everyone? Do a little research and teach the kids what Independence Day truly is. Maybe put on a little play if you’re that creative šŸ˜‰

The real point is this: it’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with and the attitude you give it. For many people, the 4th of July is really about having a good time with family — not how beautiful things look or how much money you’ve spent on those glowy things at a carnival.

Oh, and PS – if it does rain, can someone please remind me to come back and read my own words šŸ˜‰ It’s not a secret that I have a habit of letting the weather ruin my attitude as well šŸ˜‰

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