Save Money on 4th of July Celebrations

Independence Day is almost here. Are you already envisioning your time off? Plans to celebrate the national holiday? You may be planning a road trip, barbecue or party. However, there’s no need to break the bank. Check out these tips to help you keep the cost low and the quality high as you celebrate for the holiday. Also, be sure to read the fun facts about Independence Day at the end of the article. 

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On the Road Again 

Use technology. If you will be driving to visit friends or family or to see some sights, there are some great apps to help you save money on gas. These apps help you find the lowest gas prices wherever you are so you can save when filling up.

1) GasBuddy. This is an app you can download to your phone or tablet and there is also a website. You can input your city or zip code and the app will show you a list of the stations with the cheapest gas prices. All prices are reported by users of the app and website. They also entice you with the chance to win $250 for gas every week. There aren’t many complaints about the service, but I found one recurring complaint. Some stations have a different price for cash versus credit payments, but you can’t differentiate this when reporting prices so the price given to you by GasBuddy may be different than the price at the pump depending on how you are paying.

2) Gas Guru. This is an app provided by YellowPages.com. It works in a similar way as GasBuddy, but you can also search for other items such as restaurants and roadside assistance. You can also filter by grade of gas. Users claim it’s very accurate and lists even the smallest “mom and pop” gas stations. Complaints, users do not the ability to update the gas prices themselves.


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Party Hardy.

1) Recipes. We all get a little bored with food options, especially if the exact same menu is served every year. However, there’s no need to get really expensive food items or grilling equipment to have a great barbecue or potluck. Add a new ingredient or dish to revitalize your recipes. Sites like allrecipes.com and Pinterest (I love Pinterest) have tons of recipes and ways to spice them up. You can also find great tips on chef’s websites, like Rachel Ray and Emeril Lagasse. Put your own spin on the recipes and have fun with it.

2) Party items. I don’t know anyone who loves washing dishes so many people opt to get disposable utensils and plates. If you’re going that route consider getting the plastic plates that can be reused when the person goes for seconds. Or opt for the hardy paper plates that can be reused. The cheaper flimsy plates are often good for only one use and will end up costing you more as people need a new plate each time. Also consider adding markers and a sign next to the cups that encourage people to mark or write their name on their cup. This will encourage your guests to reuse the cup and will help you save money. I’ve seen people create entire designs and make their cup “pretty”. So make it creative with different color markers (whatever you have in the house).

If you really want to be really frugal and thrifty and you don’t mind doing dishes (I know you don’t love it), have a dishwasher or someone to help you then consider getting heavy duty plastic plates that can be reused year after year. A pack is usually just a few dollars more than the paper or thin plastic plates. You can find them in the same places like the Dollar Tree, grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target etc.

3) Recycle and upcycle. If you like to decorate, there are party themed stores, one of the most popular is Party City. However, there may be a lot of items in your home already that you can use. Pinterest (I told you I love that site) has great ideas for how to recycle and upcycle items that are already in your home to use during parties or cookouts. If you definitely need some items compare prices and try places like the Dollar Tree first. Also, carefully take down the decorations when the festivities are finished and store them for next year or another occasion. Even streamers can be carefully rolled back up and stored. Use a box or bin to store your party decorations.

Fun and random facts:
Did you know there’s has been one president who was actually born on the 4th of July? It was Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president. Also three presidents have actually died on July 4th: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

Photo credits: Watson Media, Key Foster, and Lorena Cupcake

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About Dr. Maria James

Dr. James, The Money Scientist, has expertise with designing income management, debt management, and wealth strategies to help you live your best life. She is the founder of Pocket of Money, LLC and the creator of The Wealth Protocol™. Dr. James has also been a guest financial expert on ESSENCE, WEAA, Madame Noire and more.

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