You’re short on cash, but you still want to plan a fun, memorable Labor Day weekend to say goodbye to summer.

Fortunately, there are a ton of ways for you to plan a fantastic Labor Day weekend that won’t break your budget. Follow these tips and ideas for celebrating Labor Day without breaking the bank.

Pick Budget-Friendly Outings

Spend a few minutes researching the true cost of a Labor Day trip or outing before committing to a plan. Don’t forget to include items like transportation expenses, food, beverages, parking, and entertainment.

For example, a free Labor Day festival sounds like a fun outing, but if the only free thing is the entrance fee, you’ll still need to budget for your transportation expenses, food and drinks, and additional festival activities. This seemingly “free” event can cost you hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re attending with your family.

However, a lake, pool, or beach that charges a fee for access may be a solid deal if you’re able to pack your own food and drinks and bring items for entertainment (like a beach game or floats).

Opting for activities that allow you to bring your own food and drinks helps you keep your expenses as low as possible.

Share Expenses with a Friend

If you want to get away for Labor Day weekend, travel with a friend so that you have someone to split your travel costs with. While you’ll still need to pay for your food, entertainment, and personal items, you can drastically reduce the amount that you spend on lodging and transportation.

Shop Around for the Best Price

When booking a hotel room or flight, make sure to check at least three or four websites to get the best price possible. You should also see if you qualify for any discounts (like a military discount, student discount, senior citizen discount, or discount for being a member of an organization like AAA).

You can even save a little more money if you’re willing to select a room or flight that’s non-refundable; just make sure you’re willing to commit to your travel plans before going this route.

Use Your Credit Card Points

If you have a credit card that gives you points or rewards for making purchases, you may be able to use these points to pay for a hotel room or purchase tickets or a gift certificate for a fun activity, like a movie or a nice meal out.

While you need some time to implement this tip, credit card points can be an excellent way to have fun without busting your budget.

Just make sure to pay your balance off each month to minimize interest expenses and look for a card with a low or no annual fee. You may also qualify for a sign-up bonus when opening a new card that gives you a lot of points upfront.

Drive a Little Further for Cheap Airfare or Transportation

Labor Day plans that involve flying or taking a train have the potential to become an expensive weekend away. Keep your travel costs low by comparing rates and fares at different airlines and train stations. Driving an extra hour to use a different carrier can save you hundreds of dollars.

Take Advantage of Free Hotel Perks

When staying at a hotel, see if they offer free breakfast or have complimentary snacks at a certain time of the day. Utilizing these free perks will help you lower your food costs while you’re away. You can even grab a couple of things to take with you for free snacks while you’re out and about.

Plan a Staycation

A staycation is an underrated option for celebrating Labor Day weekend. You’ll save a lot of money on travel expenses, and you’ll have access to your kitchen so that you can prepare delicious, budget-friendly meals.

Look for free or low-cost activities to celebrate the holiday, including public pools, state or national parks, and public parks. Be on the lookout for cheap community events or museum and zoo promotions that offer reduced entrance fees.

Since cheap destinations are popular on busy holiday weekends, try to arrive early to beat the crowds and ensure that you have a spot.

Or, cozy up at home for a terrific Labor Day weekend. Schedule a movie marathon that includes all those movies you’ve been meaning to watch. Make popcorn, grab some snacks, and invite a few friends over.

A game night is another fun, cheap way to celebrate Labor Day. Have each family member pick out their favorite game, prepare your favorite appetizers and dips, and spend an evening enjoying a little friendly competition.

Go Camping

If you want to get away for cheap, check out nearby campgrounds to see if they have any open camping sites. Tent camping makes for an affordable weekend away, and even if you need to purchase a tent and air mattress, the cost is still significantly cheaper than staying at a hotel.

Bring simple meals to grill or cook over the fire, or you can bring non-perishable items to minimize your food costs.

Don’t have a campground near you or want to cut your costs even more? Set up your tent in your backyard! You’ll save on campsite rental fees while having access to a few modern amenities for cooking and showering.

Schedule a Potluck-Style Gathering

Want to invite your friends and family over, but don’t have the funds to cover food and drinks for everyone? Invite everyone over for a potluck gathering where each person brings their favorite drink, snack, or dish.

You’ll have a variety of offerings without having to spend the money (and time) to prepare all the food and drinks yourself.

Plan a Road Trip

Even with the cost of gas, a road trip is still a budget-friendly way to see a lot of sights. Pick out a nearby town, and have each family member pick out a few sights and stops that they want to explore.

Be on the lookout for cheap excursions, like parks and other public spaces. A farmer’s market can also offer some great deals on fresh produce, flowers, and other food items.

Decorate for Fall

If you’re one of the people who like to celebrate fall immediately after Labor Day, Labor Day is a terrific time to prepare your home for the changing seasons. Sweep or hose down your front porch so that it’s clean, and break out your favorite fall decoration.

Want to add a few new pieces to your fall setup? Look for local farms and retailers with deals on pumpkins, gourds, and autumn flowers, like mums and black-eyed Susan’s.

 Stretch Out with a Book

The warm summer days are a fantastic time to find a shady spot where you can relax with a great book. Pack a picnic basket with a few drinks and snacks to make the most of your reading time.

Stop by the local public library to borrow books to enjoy over the Labor Day weekend. Prefer to use a tablet or smartphone to read? Many public libraries have programs that permit you to borrow virtual book copies.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

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