Labor Day is one of the great holiday weekends of the summer. In the United States, it is celebrated as one of the last opportunities for outdoor family activities before school begins in the fall. Most people use Labor Day for a weekend vacation or camping trip. Others spend quality time hiking, shopping, or cooking out. Many families have their own Labor Day traditions, and even for those that don't, Labor Day is an excellent opportunity to break away from the routine and do something fun.
Unfortunately, many families may cancel their Labor Day plans this year due budget constraints. But, with a little creativity and prior planning, Labor Day can still be celebrated without feeling frugal. Consider some of these budget-friendly Labor Day suggestions.
Try a Family Picnic
Labor Day weekend usually hosts cooler weather than earlier family holidays, like Memorial Day or Independence Day, because it's celebrated at the end of the summer. This year, weather permitting, consider packing a lunch and heading out to the closest park, beach, or pool for a family picnic.
The appeal of picnicking is that it can be adjusted according to your budget. If you face money concerns but still want to have a fun picnic, consider mixing and matching simple snacks, such as peanut butter sandwiches, cool lettuce, pasta salads, or kid-friendly vegetable and fruit slices. Pack up pitchers of homemade lemonade or simple fruit drinks, and pre-chill some inexpensive frozen popsicles. The ingredients for nearly all of these treats can be found at your local dollar store and packing your own drinks and desserts helps avoid impulse purchases at public parks and pools.
Visit a Local Farm
The end of the summer marks the beginning of apple season for fruit growers. If weather permits this Labor Day, consider taking the family apple- or berry-picking.
Prices and activities vary greatly between farms, so it's important to call ahead or check online to get an idea of how much the trip will cost. Most farms don't charge for visits, but will price produce by weight once it has been picked.
Join Community Events
For nearly every national holiday, communities gather to host public celebrations, which are usually free of charge. Everything from simple fireworks displays to large neighborhood cookouts and festivals can be found across the country. And the best part is, they're usually intended for the entire family, so there will very likely be games and activities just for kids.
Check your local newspaper, cable stations, or neighborhood websites for dates and times of community festivities. Or, just keep an eye out around town. Sometimes signs and flyers are the only pieces of advertising that neighborhood associations provide, especially in smaller areas. If you find the right party, you may only have to make a short trip to have an inexpensive (or potentially free) afternoon of family fun.