Before I begin talking about barbecuing – I feel it is important to note – that Memorial Day– which was once known as Decoration Day – is a time to honor all those brave men and women who have lost their lives serving our great country. The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30th 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers — at Arlington National Cemetery.
For many people, Memorial Day is also when they spend some good quality time — with friends and family. The holiday is viewed as the official kick-off of grilling season. Since Memorial Day provides a good number of us with a long weekend, this seems like the perfect time to get friends and family together — to eat, play and enjoy each other’s company. Like many Americans — you may be thinking of planning a Memorial Day BBQ. However, sometimes budget restrictions can make you feel like you can’t have people over — because you simply can not afford it.
Fear not! I have some great ideas (if I do say so myself) on how you can plan a fun and festive Memorial Day BBQ — and spend less.
Tip #1: Save on Invites
It’s always nice to send invites but you don’t have to go to all the trouble – and expense – of buying invitations and mailing them out. In today’s world, there are so many ways – of letting people know – about the get-togethers we are planning! Evite is one of my favorites! They have great invitations, for just about any occasion. Using Evite is not only frugal — but eco-friendly as well. You probably wouldn’t send wedding invites out this way, but for birthday parties – and other informal get-togethers – it is just perfect! 🙂
If most of your friends are on Facebook— there is a great event application there as well. With Evite and Facebook events — it also makes it super simple for your guests to RSVP and for you to send out reminders. This will help to ensure that you get an accurate head count, so you can plan accordingly.
- In the invite, remind people to wear their sunscreen and to bring their bug repellent. These are two very important things to have for any BBQ!
Tip #2: Save on Food
Hosting a BBQ potluck is another great way to save money on your Memorial Day celebration. If your friends and family are anything like mine, they are very thoughtful and always ask – or insist – on bringing something to the party. This is not only a kind gesture and money saver — it also helps take some of the stress of planning, off of your shoulders. The less food you have to prepare — the more time you’ll have to spend on other things, so you can enjoy the BBQ along with everyone else.
Keep it simple. Your guests don’t expect you to do anything elaborate. Grilling up burgers, hot dogs, and sausages — are just perfect for an event like this. If you can find a good deal on ribs, fish or other cuts of meat go for it — but you certainly don’t have to.
Tip #3: Save on Decorations
Do decorations from parties past — linger in your garage, attic, or some other storage place? Awesome! Get them out, dust them off and put them to good use. There is no law – that I am aware of anyway – which states that you can not re-use decorations. While it might not be appropriate to use your child’s 1st birthday banner, there are other decorations that might work beautifully — even last year’s 4th of July decor will work quite nicely.
If you don’t have any old decorations to use, head you your local dollar store as see what they have on hand. If you don’t want to do that, you can just buy a fun table cloth and put some fresh flowers out — and you’ll be all set!
Tip #4: Save on Entertainment
You don’t have to spend a lot to keep your guests entertained. Most people like to just sit around and chat — but if you want to add some other activities for your guests to do, there are a few ways to do this.
- Get out the board games or even a deck of cards and have some fun.
- Potato sack races? Why sure — that sounds like a fine idea!
- Host a scavenger hunt. This is great for kids of all ages!
- Do a good ol’ fashion egg toss. Hard boil the eggs if you like — or don’t hard boil them, this adds a little more drama to the competition 🙂
- Flag football! Just cut up some old t-shirts – or towels – for the flags and away you go!
- You can play croquet, volleyball, Frisbee or badminton depending on how much space you have. If don’t have these games, a friend or family member might.
What are you planning this Memorial Day weekend? Do you have some other suggestions on how people can save on these types of parties? I’d love to hear them!!!