How to Throw a Fun and Frugal 4th of July Party

If you tend to go a little nuts with the decorations and get super fancy with the food, it's easy to spend a ton of money on your shindig. There's a better way!
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Americans spend billions of dollars each year on 4th of July festivities. How much are you spending on your Independence Day party or barbecue? If you tend to go a little nuts with the decorations and get super fancy with the food, it's easy to spend a ton of money on your shindig. There's a better way! Here are some ways to save some money and still host a classy, but economical affair.

  • Just remember that simple is good. You don't need red, white and blue banners and glitter plastered over every inch of your backyard. Here are some pretty DIY decoration ideas from Good Housekeeping.
  • Dollar store balloons are just as good as the expensive ones.
  • No one's gonna judge you for not having star-spangled napkins.
  • Don't bother with plastic dinnerware, especially if you've got a dishwasher. If you don't have enough plates of your own, ask a friend to bring some over.
  • Why not host a potluck? That takes a lot of the work off your shoulders, and a collaborative effort will definitely make the menu more eclectic and interesting.
  • BYOB -- Bring Your Own Beverage! You can always have your guests bring their beverage of choice, whether it be the more fun, adult kind or the classic soda and lemonade. Most people don't mind helping out by bringing drinks or snacks, so don't be shy about asking your friends or family to help out.
  • If you're not feeling potlucky, release your inner chef! Cooking your own food is not only cheaper, but it's most likely healthier and tastier than the pre-made versions. Check's 4th of July recipe list for ideas. Try to get a head count so that you don't get stuck with massive piles of leftovers. Alternatively, buy some ingredients, like hamburger meat, in bulk (it's usually cheaper), and freeze what you don't need for later.
  • Plan out your menu thoughtfully! See what's on sale at your local supermarkets. Instead of shelling out for that gourmet gelato, whip up a dessert that doubles as a decoration -- toss together a mix of fresh berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. and top it off with some whipped cream or Cool Whip.
  • What's a good party without music? Try Spotify or Pandora to make quick playlists and stream some funky tunes.
  • Bust out the board games! Board games are an easy source of entertainment for guests of all ages, and you can always ask your friends to bring their own so you have a nice selection. Like video games? Don't go out and buy a brand new console for the party, but if you've already got one, there are some great games that are perfect for group play. My personal favorites involve dancing, shenanigans, and a little bit of shame.
  • No fireworks? It's okay. Why not broadcast the Macy's 4th of July fireworks display for your guests? It'll be showing live from New York City on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.
  • And something fun for the kids... or grownups. Whichever. Download the free Fireworks Arcade app for your iPhone, iPad, or Kindle Fire! Trust me, it's addicting.
Invest a little more time, and you can host an awesome 4th of July party without overspending. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy your Independence Day!

This post was written by Euna Kim from the SaveUp Team.