Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Spending

Holiday weekends are great in theory. Some extra days off, time spent with family and friends, and good food, usually in the form of BBQ. Unfortunately, holiday weekends also lend themselves to a little bit more spending than may have been planned for. While Memorial Day weekend is now officially behind us, I've come up with some frugal ideas to keep in mind for the next holiday weekend which will be here before we know it.

Garage Sales: It occurred to me that not everyone who has the extra day off may be getting paid for that extra day. While many jobs offer a chance for people to work some holiday/overtime hours, others may be left 8 hours short of a good paycheck. Holiday weekends in most areas are good times to hold a garage sale as there are more people in town and more people with a little extra time on their hands. If you plan well in the weeks beforehand and have alot of things to sell (in good condition of course), you can make a decent amount to supplement what you may have lost in that extra day off. And hey, even if you are getting paid for Memorial Day, there's never anything wrong with making a little extra money.

BBQs with Friends: Whether you throw one of your own or go to a friend's house, a group BBQ is the summer equivalent of a potluck. The host may offer to buy the meat if everyone else brings sides, chips, and drinks. Or everyone may bring a pound of meat to share plus a side and their own drinks. No matter how it's ran, you can generally enjoy a nice big meal for a small cost, and if the BBQ runs the whole day (complete with games and chatting), you'll usually enjoy lunch and dinner.

Be Frugal When Travelling: The opportunity of a long weekend is also an opportunity to take a road trip to see people you don't get to see regularly. However, the price of gas and regular travel expenses has gone up considerably since last year and doesn't show signs of going down before the next summer holiday. Be sure to plan ahead. If you can rent or borrow a vehicle that gets better gas mileage, budget for it. Try to stay with family or friends in order to save on hotel costs. Avoid stopping for meals by packing a cooler with sandwich stuff and drinks. And if you really can't afford to travel, take the time to enjoy being at home. Pitch a tent in the yard or do a mini house trade with some friends for a change of scenery. Be creative. It is possible to have a great weekend for relatively cheap.

This weekend, the BF and I managed to keep our costs down. He worked, and even though I had a four day weekend (paid, luckily...I didn't look ahead on that whole garage sale thing), I kept gas costs down by staying home and reading or looking up recipes when we finally got our internet back. In fact, I ended up not driving anywhere on Saturday which really saved on the gas. We ended up going to two BBQs where we were asked to bring a side and our own beverages. We opted for chips, macaroni salad, and a 12 pack of Coke Zero. The pop was a splurge...normally we try to stick to either the 68 cent 2 liters of WalMart brand or the $1.00 3 liters at the Dollar Store. The chips we got on sale...2 bags for $4.00, so we took one bag per BBQ. Watch out for the mac salad! We ended up buying deli salad for $4.29 a pound. I haven't checked into it, but I'm pretty sure you can make your own for alot cheaper.

All in all, for two BBQs that ended up being 2 meals (lunch and dinner both days), we spent about $12.00, which when broken down, ends up being $3.00 per person per meal. Not too bad at all!

Hope everyone had a great enjoyable weekend and we'll be looking to the 4th of July to use some more frugal holiday ideas.

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