Labor Day, celebrated in the United States on the first Monday in September, is often considered the end of the summer season. As kids go back to school and the weather gets colder, it is common to celebrate with barbecues and other types of get-togethers. The Monday holiday means that many have a long weekend as well. If you are trying to stick to a budget but still want to celebrate Labor Day, here are a few ways to prepare and have fun on a budget.
Host a Potluck
If you have an annual tradition of a Labor Day cookout that you don’t want to break, there are a few things you can do to keep your tradition strong while trying to save some money. One idea is to make it a potluck. You can have all your guests bring a side dish or dessert, while you provide the main course. Depending on how many guests you are planning to host, you might consider organizing a signup so that you make sure that you’ll have a good variety of appetizers, side dishes, salads and desserts.
Another idea is to make the party BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage). Drinks (especially alcohol) can add a ton to your overall costs. You can help to defray some of those costs by having everyone bring their own drinks. That way you won’t be responsible for providing every possible kind of drink. Plus this way everyone can make sure that they’ll have a drink that they enjoy.
Keep it Simple
A Labor Day party doesn’t have to be a huge extravaganza. While large parties featuring many friends and family are common, it’s not the only way to have fun. One idea to keep your Labor Day celebration on a budget is to keep it simple. Some people choose to relax at home or take a casual stroll through their city, using Labor Day as a chance to have a bit of a staycation while everyone else is at a barbecue. You can also use Labor Day as a chance to organize or catch up on home improvement projects around the house.
If you do choose to still get together for Labor Day, you can choose to do something smaller with just your immediate family and/or close friends. A casual get together with some neighbors may be another option. The point is that while large parties with dozens or hundreds of people can be fun, they’re not the only way to have fun.
Visit the Great Outdoors
One way to keep things simple is to eschew a traditional backyard barbecue blowout in favor of outdoor fun. Depending on where you live, Labor Day can signal the end of summer and warm-weather activities. So rather than having a big cookout, consider celebrating the long weekend with a camping trip to a nearby State or National Park.
There are many different outdoor activities that you could consider, depending on where you live or what types of things that you like to do. Hiking, creeking, white-water rafting and rock climbing are all possibilities. The best part about exploring nature is that you can do many of these activities for little or no charge.
Be Smart About Your Choice of Venue
If you are hosting a barbecue or other large celebration, you also can potentially save some money by being smart about your choice of venue. If you can’t (or don’t want to) make alternative plans, you still have a few different options. In the scenario where you’re just having a few people over, it would make sense to just do it at your own home (for free).
But if you’re planning a larger gathering, you may start running into costly reservation fees depending on the size of your group and where you’re planning to host. Here are a few potential ideas for places that can work for a group outing:
- Find a friend that has a large yard or home suitable for large gatherings
- Many city or state parks allow you to reserve park shelters for free or cheap
- Churches may allow parishioners to use their meeting halls free of charge
- Some community groups have meeting rooms that are available to use or rent
The Bottom Line
Celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September, Labor Day has often signified the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year and autumn. While there are many ways to celebrate, large get-togethers (or barbecues) are a common American tradition. If you are planning a Labor Day celebration but are looking to stick to your budget, don’t despair. Following some of these tips can help you have fun without running up your credit card bill.