Throwing a Memorial Day party (or any party for that matter) can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to leave you penniless. We compiled a list of ways to throw an amazing party this Memorial Day-- so you can skip the stress and enjoy the time with your family (and we promise they’re better than making a red, white, and blue gelatin).

1. Skip the paper invite (obvi) 📱

You’re not only saving trees and your own time, but it is also much more efficient and wallet friendly. Facebook Events allows you to keep track of the people attending and gives you the ability to update your guests as plans change. Within the party description, summarize everything you will provide, and don’t be afraid to ask if you need people to bring additional party supplies.

2. Timing is vital ⌚️

Also, take into consideration your start and end times, as they will have an impact on your overall budget. Avoid dinner time if you can, as it tends to be the most expensive meal of the day. Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, so why not start around noon? Everyone has eaten breakfast and can plan on a light lunch. If your family is like mine, put 11 a.m. on the invite and they should show up around 12 p.m. 😉

3. Share the food duties 🌭

Feeling pressured to provide all the food? Don’t. Some people may think there’s a stigma around asking others to bring a dish, but guests generally don’t mind and are happy to help. You can still be a gracious (yet frugal) host by organizing your event in one of the following ways:

  • Provide the main course and allow others to bring side dishes. Give guests a fun theme to plan around and ask them to post their plans to the Facebook event page. This way, you will have a well-balanced variety of dishes and can avoid everyone bringing the same thing.
  • Provide the side dishes and ask others to bring the barbecue. Plan on high-volume, low-cost dishes, e.g., pastas, salads, veggies, fruit, meat and cheese platters. Regardless of how you decide to organize festivities, ask guests to bring their own adult beverages. This alone can cut your costs tremendously.

MoneyLion Plus members share their top 10 Memorial Day dishes

We asked MoneyLion Plus members what their fave Memorial Day dishes are, and here are their top 10:

  • BBQ ribs, chicken, and sausage
  • Brisket
  • Steak
  • Pork chops
  • Hot dogs and burgers
  • Lobster and shrimp
  • Corn on the cob
  • Potato salad
  • Cheesecake
  • Pound cake

4. Location, location, location 📍

If you’re not a fan of kitchen clean-up, consider hosting your gathering at a public park or beach. Memorial Day can get crazy competitive for limited public spaces, so call ahead and see if you can make a reservation. If not, get there early!

5. Keep entertainment simple 🎶

Less is more when it comes to entertainment. Make a Spotify playlist prior to the social gathering and be sure to keep it upbeat. Allow guests to make requests if they choose to do so.

Set out a few games if you have them on hand. Bean bag toss, horseshoes, and ladder ball toss are summertime favorites for all. Do yourself a favor and print out the rules. This will avoid additional explanation and (friendly) arguments between players.

If the weather is nice, consider a water balloon fight. Organize the balloons into red, white, and blue buckets and assign teams. This will keep the kids entertained.

6. DIY decor 😉

Decorations can be both understated and classic. If you host the party at home, you can use a large piece of cardboard to make a stencil, and spray paint red, white, and blue stars across the lawn. You can also put a spin on the tea light candles and mason jar combination and add layers of red, white, and blue dyed beans for extra swag. Bring the fun and not the stress; it’s the most economical way to ensure everyone is having a good time.

P.S. Most important of all, remember what Memorial Day stands for, a day to honor those who died in active military duty. Enjoy the three-day weekend with your family without suffering the post-party financial hangover.