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10 Fun and Thrifty Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day

how to celebrate memorial day

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With Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s time to start making plans for your long weekend.

Not everyone will celebrate Memorial Day in the same way – you may prefer to spend the day in quiet observance or celebrate at the beach amongst the crowds. Whether you stay local or plan a getaway, you don’t need to spend all of your hard-earned money on Memorial Day celebrations.

These ten thrifty ways to celebrate will help you enjoy Memorial Day while still saving money; an added bonus to a holiday weekend that also signals the kickoff of summer.

1. Fire Up The Grill

Cheap ways to save money
Shop with coupons and keep your Memorial Day Barbecue costs down.

Nothing quite signals summer like firing up the grill, so invite some friends and family over for a cheap way to celebrate the holiday without skimping on fun. Keep your costs down by buying vegetables from a local farmer’s market, or do some research and shop for what is in season at your local grocery store. Use your space strategically, and turn your backyard into a football field, throw some floats in the pool, or just play upbeat music and encourage guests to dance.

2. Hit The Beach

Temperatures are rising at the end of May, so find a local beach – or lake – and take advantage of nature’s free cooling system: water. All you’ll need is a bathing suit, towel, some sunscreen, and some cheap eats to keep you sustained during your day of fun.

3. Visit A Military Memorial

Cheap ways to celebrate
Honor the armed forces by visiting a military memorial.

To honor members of the military both past and present, take the family to a military memorial or cemetery nearby to give them a dose of history while still celebrating the purpose of the holiday. Even just stopping by a local statue can help you connect with the real message of Memorial Day.

4. Have A Party

Want a cheap way to celebrate and get together with everyone you like for Memorial Day? Offer to host a party at your place, and ask friends to bring alcohol or a dish. You can supplement by offering plenty of inexpensive foods, like chips and dip and vegetable crudités. Have some soda and seltzer ready for mixers, and plug in your phone or computer for some tunes.

5. Send A Military Care Package

Cheap ways to celebrate
Put together some favorites to share with servicemembers overseas.

Active military members don’t often get to participate in Memorial Day activities, so let them know they’re appreciated by giving back and sending out a military care package. You can fill your box with things like snacks, games, and toiletries, and even invite friends over to make it a party – with a purpose. Write a personalized letter that acknowledges the servicemember’s efforts, and help them feel connected to life back home. An organization like Operation Gratitude can help you prepare boxes suitable for soldiers.

6. Get Crafty

Of all the thrifty ways to celebrate Memorial Day, doing some craft projects with your kids or younger family members can be a powerful way to help them connect with the holiday’s purpose. Create your own flags, make wreaths, or even bake some patriotic sweets while telling children why we celebrate members of our armed forces.

7. Pitch A Tent

Cheap ways to celebrate
Find a local campsite – or even a backyard – for some holiday fun.

Want to get away but don’t want the expenses? Try camping in a local campsite – use a site like Reserve America to help you find one nearby. Stock up on cheap eats like granola bars, hot dogs and buns, and canned vegetables or beans, and you can enjoy yourself with the many experiences that nature offers – for free. Ask friends and family if they have any camping supplies you can borrow for the weekend to keep costs down.

8. Make Some Extra Cash

One of the thrifty ways to celebrate Memorial Day is by turning it into an opportunity to make some money yourself. When schools are out, and people have the day off of work, local yard sales are a great way to spend the day, so choose to host your own event this holiday weekend. Go through closets and storage and pull out anything you haven’t used or worn in the last year, make some lemonade and offer some water, and you’re ready to make some extra bucks.

9. Get Together With Family

Cheap ways to celebrate
Bring everyone together to honor family.

Do you know how many of your family members served in the military? Even for those older members who may not have served, asking them questions about their history, and most importantly, listening to their stories can be a powerful way to honor them and their past. Pack a lunch and meet up in the park, or visit them at their home for a quiet day together.

10. Go To A Parade

There are parades all over the country on Memorial Day, so see if there is something close by that you can attend. You’ll want some sunscreen, plenty of water, and a few quick bites like granola bars to keep energy up. If you don’t have a parade nearby, plan to watch one like the National Memorial Day Parade on TV, and turn it into a potluck by inviting friends over with the direction that each brings a dish to share.

There’s no reason to break the bank when it comes to enjoying Memorial Day with these thrifty ways to celebrate. Do you have any ideas for cheap holiday activities we’ve missed?


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