Happy 4th!

Ahhh the Fourth of July. I don't know about you, but I feel like nothing is more American than celebrating our independence and getting together with friends and family to eat some tasty food and enjoy the day. Okay, maybe if you added a little country music to the celebration, it would be more American, but I digress.

When I was younger, I used to love the Fourth of July because it was almost a guarantee that we would either be going to a barbecue at a friend's house, or having one in our own backyard. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, potato salad (I know we all say it, but my mom makes the best), and all the soda needed to ensure a sugar crash later on in the day. Yes, the Fourth is definitely one of my favorite times of year. Where there is food, you'll find me. I mean come on, who doesn't like a cookout?

One of the great things about barbecuing on the Fourth of July is that most of your typical food (chicken, hot dogs, burgers, etc) is generally cheaper than it normally is. Grocery stores tend to promote holidays and push food that is associated with those days. That's why you see turkeys on sale at Thanksgiving, and spiral hams at Easter. Certain things go together. Not only are holidays good for quality time with the family, but it is also a good time to stock up on food that is on sale. I live alone, but many times I'll buy chicken or burger meat when the sales are on and freeze what I don't use. Family packs of chicken, burgers and dogs around the Fourth of July are generally reasonably priced. Buy them when you have those sales, and you'll have food to use later on.

I also love barbecuing because, generally speaking, most barbecues are with groups of people. This means that everyone pitches in and there's a plethora (it means a lot) of food choices. It also enables the overall cost per person to go down. Most of the time, the cookouts I go to are BYOM (bring your own meat) and everyone chips in with the salads, chips condiments and beverages. My mom generally brings the potato salad, because she's the bomb at making it. I've seen it before where the host family tells no one to bring any food to their house. If one person or family puts on a massive barbecue like that, they would be out quite a load of money. It's a nice gesture, but in today's day in age, not practical. By all chipping in, it ensures that you keep your overall costs down. Next time you're hosting a barbecue, if you don't already, try making it a potluck barbecue. Trying to make all the dishes yourself is not only time consuming, but overly expensive as well.

FIREWORKS! Don't forget the fireworks tonight. I checked for you, the weather is supposed to be decent tonight. Want a fun and free thing to do tonight? Go watch the fireworks. I used to go when I was younger and loved watching the bright colors in the sky. Now that I am older, I still go, and get to see the excitement on the faces of my nieces and nephew. That in itself is entertainment enough for me. 

One final thing. Don't buy the glow sticks or sparklers from the vendors around the firework displays. Go to a store and buy them before you go instead. Saving money is the name of the game, and I can assure you, those glow sticks you're about to buy are not six dollars a piece. You aren't getting a deal by buying three for twelve dollars. Turn and walk away. They will die in 24 hours anyway, and that six dollar investment you just made will soon be in the trash. 

What are your plans for the Fourth?

Seth P.