Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! We don’t really need an excuse to get together with family and indulge a little, but the truth is…most of us get trapped in the daily grind and before we know it, we haven’t seen some of our loved ones in way too long. For this reason, I love holidays…not to mention we get extra days off 🙂 When we’re retired, every day will be a party, ha!
Indulging during long, holiday weekends doesn’t have to be as unhealthy or expensive as people make it out to be. Here are a few tips for saving money and eating better during the holidays, along with some of the ways we celebrated this weekend:
– You don’t need to spend money to have FUN. We have a huge, beautiful neighborhood pool (that we technically already pay for thru our HOA, although it’s extremely reasonable), yet I was super surprised at how empty it was because I was really expecting it to be packed. We had a blast with our family and the kids even won a prize from the staff for playing a pool game. I think at some point we had the entire pool to ourselves! We had a small picnic lunch at the playground just outside the pool, and cooked dinner at home. Then, we indulged in some awesome fireworks that were being fired all around our house, without spending a dollar on fireworks ourselves. What a good deal! We did all this without driving anywhere, burning any gas, or spending any unnecessary money beyond the normal cost of food.
– Instead of catering food in or buying a bunch of ready-made trays that are ridiculously overpriced, make your own trays with fresh fruits and vegetables, or whatever you desire. You can usually make them a lot cuter than what you get at the store anyway. C’mon, who doesn’t love an American flag fruit tray?! Not only are they cuter, but you can get the whole fruits for cheaper, and by the time you’re done making your tray, you usually have leftovers to last you a couple more days.
– For that matter, making as much as possible at home is always cheaper and MUCH healthier. And if you choose wisely, it doesn’t have to be that time-consuming. Here’s the pasta salad I made (one of my favorites to make for a summer cook-out):
- 1 pkg organic bow-tie pasta, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
- Add in any toppings of your choosing (preferably fresh and organic), including, but not limited to:
- Diced cucumbers
- Diced tomatoes
- Black beans and/or garbanzo beans (chick peas)
- Diced green pepper
- Cubed cheese (sharp cheddar works well; this time I used Muenster because I had it on hand)
- Chopped red onion
- Good quality salami, if desired
- Season with your favorite vinaigrette dressing, or oil/salt/spices combination
– Mango guacamole with organic tortilla chips is a super delicious appetizer to munch on. I buy the chips from Costco and make a quick dip in a few minutes. Dice up two mangoes, 2-4 avocados depending on their size, half a red onion, and combine it all with lime juice, garlic powder, and sea salt or Pink salt. It is divine…always a huge hit!
– Watermelon Keg. How awesome is this?! I saw it on my facebook newsfeed the day before and decided to make it for the 4th.
- Thinly slice the bottom of the watermelon so it has a flat surface to stand on
- Slice the top of the watermelon so the opening is big enough to scoop out all the fruit (don’t go too deep so it stays “closed” on the bottom)
- Blend all the fruit in your blender with freshly squeezed lime juice and vodka or tequila to taste, if desired (depending on the size of your watermelon and blender, you will need to do this in several batches)
- There is no need for extra sugar or syrup, the watermelon is more than sweet enough
- With an apple corer or knife, poke a hole about a third of the way from the bottom of the watermelon (just above the level you scooped out fruit) and attach a spout. I used a removable one from a 1-gallon glass dispenser…they have them all over the place for the summer and they are pretty cheap (less than $5)
- Pour the drink back into the watermelon and serve over ice!
– Another way we always save on higher quality foods is by buying in bulk. We already had a half grass-fed cow and half wild-caught boar in our freezer…so for special occasions we don’t have to do much special shopping. We pulled out the beef ribs and pork spare ribs and DTG got to work on the grill. Sorry I don’t have a picture to share…they were so delicious I wasn’t able to get a picture before they were basically gone.
And that’s how our 4th of July went down…family, sun, fun, great food, some alcohol, and almost no money spent. Does it get any better?! Hope you had a great one, as well!