How to Celebrate the 4th of July on a Budget- and Still Have Fun!

The 4th is just around the corner and I’m determined to celebrate this 4th of July on a budget! Generally, Americans don’t associate the 4th WITH budgets. While this isn’t usually a giant spending holiday in America, I have found that it’s easy to break the budget with cute clothes for the kids, and beer, and fireworks, and b-b-q. The list goes on.

According to, Americans spent 800 million dollars on fireworks last year. We also spent about 1 billion dollars on beer. Yeah, that’s right. 1 BILLION! Americans are projected to spend $7 billion on food for the 4th of July holiday this year.

Add in flags, and red, white and blue clothing as well as party supplies (if you’re hosting one) or travel expenses to get to the fireworks show – and you’ve likely spent more than you planned. Or, you likely didn’t plan, and you’ll end up with a credit card bill bigger than you expected once the 5th rolls around.

I’ve been celebrating holidays on a budget for 10 years now. Here are 7 ways to celebrate the 4th of July on a budget all while still having fun!


Potlucks are SO awesome. It’s a way to get together with friends, host a party, but not have to incur all the expenses! Food and drinks can easily be the most costly part of hosting a party. So, share that cost with friends.

Make a simple red, white and blue paper star bunting or some other crafts and set up some twinkle lights. You’ve got yourself a sweet party set up!

If you invite through evite, I’ve found there’s even a way to electronify (that’s totally a word) potluck sign ups. That way there won’t be duplicate dishes and you’ll ensure there’s enough for everyone!

And community. Hosting something that brings people together in safe merriment is putting goodness into the world. Period.


I know. I’m supposed to be telling you how to save money, not spend it.

Come on, it’s the 4th of July. Every little kid loves fireworks – especially one they can hold in their hands! We always buy a few boxes and then when the sun finally goes down let the kids light sparkler after sparkler. It’s a really fun and special thing for them. Sure someone usually burns their fingers. Just have a jar of ice water nearby – problem solved.


Yeah. That’s right. I’m the fuddy-duddy.

Let me just say, if you LOVE fireworks, and one of your Values is Fireworks, then, by all means, spend your money on fireworks.

But, if you can’t figure out how fireworks fit into your Values as a family, then, seriously, do NOT buy fireworks. Leave that to the professionals and keep your money. Imagine all the OTHER ways you could spend that $50 or $100 or $200.

If you’re still not convinced, apparently 800 people go to the ER every year on the 4th of July with fireworks-related accidents. Ouch!


Our local grocery stores will often do some sort of crazy discounted food deal for holidays. So, for the 4th of July it is likely to be deeply discounted ground beef or hot dogs. Or maybe even already formed beef patties. Or sweet corn, or potato chips, or hot dogs.

The point is, search your local grocery stores for deals on the foods you were going to buy anyway and stock up!

If you’re able to manage it with your budget, stock up on, say, ground beef for the next few months and put it in your freezer. We like to buy meat in bulk when it’s deeply discounted and then use our Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer (this isn’t our exact Foodsaver – ours is 10+ years old – but this is the closest I could find) to pack the meat into portions we use for meals. Usually about 2 pounds for our big family! Then we label with a sharpie and stick it in the freezer.


OK, likely I’m a fuddy-duddy on this one as well. I’m gonna go out a limb and bet you have something red, white and/or blue in your wardrobe already. There is NO need to go out and support fast fashionfor a T-shirt you’re likely to only wear one time.

I’m a big supporter of minimalist wardrobes anyway, but especially on holidays. NO ONE needs to spend money on a shirt they or their children will only wear once. Keep your money. Remember your Values and spend or save money based on those. You will feel SO much better.

(If you’re confused about why I’m talking about Values – go to my Start Here page and you’ll see how to begin defining your own values!) Or use the form below to get my FREE Defining Your Values workbook sent to your inbox instantly!

Also, I believe we learn money behaviors from our parents. What do you want your children to learn about money? That it’s disposable? Likely, no.

I want my children to learn that money is finite and valuable and a resource to be spent on items or given to people that are of value or putting value & love into this world.


Plug in the sprinkler. Fill up that baby pool. Let the kids face paint each other. Buy a few water balloons. Have your kids create and set up a relay race. Invite the neighbor kids over. Boom. Never ending kid entertainment for virtually no dollars.

You’ve built community, fostered kindness in your children and spread kid laughter throughout the neighborhood. As Maui would say, “You’re welcome.”



You knew it was coming. Pack up your family and a picnic and head to your local event that’s taking place for the 4th. Our town usually has fireworks downtown. Maybe your town has a parade or some other event to get citizens together. Invite some friends, pack a picnic and go.

It won’t cost you anything but time. The kids will remember getting to stay up way too late, holding sparklers with their bare hands, and running in the streets while watching giant explosions of color in the sky.


MoneyOlivia Zurawski