Judging by the light traffic this week, a lot of people have gone on vacation already, but if you’re one of the people staying home this Labor Day, here are a seven frugal activities to keep your family entertained and your wallet full.
Attend a Friend’s Barbecue
The barbecue is one of the most popular and traditional Labor Day activities. You probably know at least one person hosting one. Although you should bring a bag of chips or something as a contribution, attending a barbecue hosted by someone else is a very frugal way to enjoy the day.
Host a Barbecue
If you like to be the host, then pick up some packs of chicken breasts, kosher hot dogs, and hot dog buns from the local warehouse store. Ask your friends to bring the drinks and sides. I’d avoid burgers, because they usually end up flat, dry, and charred unless you’re an experienced griller. Use my other party planning tips to prevent an end-of-the-summer budget buster.
Attend Community Events
Like July 4, Labor Day is a popular day for community events. Check your local online calendar or Sunday paper for free live music events or low-cost street fairs. Pack a picnic in order to avoid the over-priced food they often sell at these events.
Go on a Picnic
Labor Day is usually nice day; not too warm, but not too cold. It’s perfect picnic weather. Pack some healthy foods that can be eaten semi-chilled or slightly warm, then head to the beach or park for some fun in the late summer sun.
Go on a Hike
Summer is too brutal for some hikes, but Labor Day is a great day for a hike if it’s started to cool off in your region. Pack water, snacks, and sunscreen for an early start on the trail, then head home afterwards for sandwiches and chips. After all those calories you burned, you earned them!
Eat All the Berries You Can Stand
Berries are the quintessential summer fruit, which unfortunately means they’ll soon be disappearing from both bushes and markets. Stock up now if you want to have berries in mid-winter. Lay them out on freezer trays, then drop frozen berries into freezer bags. If you like to stick to in-season fruit, then buy enough to serve over shortcake or with cream this weekend. Yum.
Pick Your Own Fruit
Apples are coming back into season just as other fruits fade. This Labor Day, give the farmers a break and pick your own fruit. You’ll be amazed how good it tastes fresh off the tree. You can also bake it into a pie or cobbler. Nothing says Labor Day like fresh fruit pie. Visit PickYourOwn.org to find a farm near you.
Learn How to Can
Canning is a lost art. When I was growing up, we had several fruit trees in the yard. Canning, making jam, and dehydrating were regular activities during the summer. If you’ve brought in your last harvest or went overboard at the You Pick farm, borrow a book about canning from the library. Once you’ve made your own fresh jam, you may never want to go back to the store-bought kind again. You’ll also love being able to eat peaches in the middle of winter without having to buy imported fruit.
These eight frugal activities ought to keep your holiday weekend pretty full. You won’t even want to go near the mall sales. Avoiding big spending is probably the best way to celebrate Labor Day.