Host a Fourth of July Party on a Budget

Big crowds are out this year; small parties at home are in. The pandemic has fundamentally changed so much about our everyday lives that celebrating America’s birthday will look different, too.

Red, white and blue face masks for everyone, maybe?

Fun, freedom, and patriotic traditions never go out of style, and neither does saving on holiday decorations and festivities.

Here are some tips on how to host a Fourth of July party on a budget:

Get Your Lawn Party-Ready
Is there anything as quintessentially American as a thick green backyard? Get your lawn in top shape with regular maintenance. That means regular mowing and edging.

By the time July Fourth rolls around, your yard will be party-ready.

Cost: $0-$50, depending on whether you DIY or hire someone to mow your yard.

Hold the Party Outdoors
Hosting the party in your backyard is a low-key money-saving tip. Guests going in and out, flipping lights on and off and opening up the fridge and freezer are all energy busters.

If you’re like a lot of Americans, your energy bill is up this year because so many of us are staying home more. Keep your energy bill more manageable by keeping Uncle Sam, Betsy Ross and the other partiers outside. Set up coolers and the lawn chairs in the shade. If it’s too hot in your backyard, offer your guests some ways to beat the heat.

Cost: $0

Keep the Menu Simple
Fourth of July party foods are basic — hot dogs and hamburgers, and maybe ice cream or brownies for dessert. Our nation’s birthday is not a holiday that traditionally requires a feast, like say, Thanksgiving.

Pair those burgers and hot dogs with some potato salad or coleslaw, and no one will leave hungry. The key here is to keep it simple and easy.

Another tip? Supply recyclable paper plates and you won’t have a lot of cleaning up to do afterward.

Cost: $5.51 per person

BYOB and Save
Make your Fourth party “bring your own beverage.” If your guests crave an expensive wine, let him or her pay for it.

The benefits of going BYOB? It costs you nothing, and no one can complain that you don’t have the kind of soda or beer they like.

Plus, BYOB keeps people safe by cutting down on the number of objects that multiple people touch. That’s a win-win.

Cost: $0

Let Your Guests Do the Decorating
Sure, you can get those recyclable paper plates and napkins in a festive red, white and blue, but don’t splurge on streamers and party decorations. Tell your guests the dress code is “red, white and blue,” and let your friends and family be the decorations.

Cost: $0

This year, it’s just not safe to lay out a blanket with hundreds of thousands of other people to watch the big fireworks show. A small backyard shindig is a much smarter way to celebrate the Fourth in 2020.

No matter what the year, though, hosting a Fourth of July party on a budget is easy, and remember, the cost of a good time is always priceless.

So get your lawn mowed and round up your patriotic paper and plastic wear. Maybe splurge on a few sparklers, too (if fireworks are legal where you live).

Vandana Kumar is a writer and landscape designer. In her backyard designs, she likes to incorporate outdoor kitchens — and makes a devastatingly good tandoori chicken in hers.

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