Saturday, June 30, 2012

Red, White & Blue {on a Budget!}

Hello friends!

My friend, Samantha, is here today to share her ideas for having a great 4th of July on a budget!


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One of my absolute favorite holidays has to be the Fourth of July. Our summer is filled with parades and fireworks displays and Independence Day is the pinnacle! Over the years, I've learned some tips and tricks to keep the festivities huge while keeping the dent in your wallet small.

1. Start the day with a {nutritional} bang! 

Who doesn't love a delicious & festive breakfast? My favorite tradition is to make whole wheat pancakes, top them with blueberries and cut strawberries (both favorites in this house) with a few dollops of whipped cream. The perfect oomph to give you the energy to enjoy all those celebrations!

2. Dollar stores and Target's Dollar Spot are treasure troves.

Inevitably, as we hit the evening hours, the boys catch sight of all the beautiful glowing sticks, bracelets, and fancy whirling lights. We hem and haw over the outrageous price tag as vendors walk by. In the weeks leading up to the Fourth, I head out to my local dollar store and Target's Dollar Spot to spy items that my boys will love, keep them occupied and keep us from going broke! This year, I've picked up a few small packages of flags, 2 glow stick flags, 4 packages of glow necklaces (my niece and nephews occasionally join us) and some festive dessert cupcake liners and toppers - all for around $5. It pays to plan!

3.  Pack snacks and drinks!

When waiting around for the fireworks, the time seems to go by so slowly and we always seem to get an extra burst of hunger. Instead of opting for the overpriced park fare, we bring our own bags of fruit, crackers, bottles of water, and the candy from our local parade satisfies our sweet tooth.

4. Prepare for anything!

Bug spray, sunscreen, sweatshirts (yes, one year it was FREEZING), blankets, chairs, strollers, and all the regular child essentials. Whether you are headed to a friend's house or out for the day to a festival, you never want to be stuck without what you may need!

5. Coordinate your wardrobe (using what you already have!)

In the past, I've been a sucker for complete red, white, and blue (usually matching) outfits. I'd snag the Old Navy shirts for $5 and call it a day.  But inevitably, the boys would grow out of them, the year would no longer be relevant and I'd find myself wasting money. Now, I dress our family up for the day based on what we already have in our closet (blue) jean shorts for the boys and white/blue/red shirts for the boys with what we already own. It's usually cheaper (and reusable!) throughout the year.

6. Save a little, so you can splurge occasionally!

Who doesn't love enjoying ice cream while watching fireworks light up the night sky? Save money throughout your day to enjoy some ice cream as a family later. 

The most important thing to remember is that memories are made as a family, not necessarily with your pocketbook. I have fond memories of these same activities with my parents and am thrilled to now share that with my boys.

Happy Independence Day!

I'm an almost thirty-something mom of two little fellas that married my high school sweetheart. I love the following in this order: God, family, friends, coffee, iPhone, chocolate. I'm not afraid to try new things unless it involves exercising. I hope to one day live on a beach with feet in the sand every day. For now, I blog over at The Peanuts Gang and consider myself a lady of all trades.

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