Do you know why Labor Day is a national holiday?
In a nutshell, Labor Day is America’s tribute to the contributions of the working class and to the activists who fought for worker’s rights, fair wages and labor laws. You might think working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is a drag, but in the 1800s, working 14 or 16 hours a day all week long in poor conditions was common in the U.S.
So if you’re already feeling bummed out about the end of summer and your dried up vacation funds,
take a moment to be glad that you have these days off, and then enjoy a low key, low cost holiday weekend.
Here are some ideas to have that last blast on a budget:
Don’t be a sucker for Labor Day sales
Stores will find any excuse to reel you onto their premises, and this holiday weekend is as good as any. Just because there’s a “big sale” doesn’t mean you need to fall for the marketing trap. If you already splurged at the “Independence Day” sale, then you probably don’t need another shopping spree.
Go on a staycation
Maybe you’ve been making little trips all summer long, or you already went on your big trip, whether it was across the country or across the globe. Traveling can be exhausting and a big drain on your funds. So set up a tent in the backyard, grill some hot dogs (vegan or not) and camp out under the stars without the worries of forgetting the mosquito repellent or the ice pack for the cooler—and without the travel costs.
Play tourist in your own town
Even if you live in a small town, there’s always room for exploration—you just need to be open to opportunity. Have you ever actually looked at the website for your city’s tourism board or visitor’s bureau? You might be in for a few surprises. Grab your family or friends and take a stroll, hike or drive around to discover your community in a whole new way.
BBQ on a budget
Okay, yes, everyone else is doing it, so why can’t you? But no need to go all out for your end of summer fiesta. Make it a potluck BBQ so all your guests bring food and drinks to contribute. Don’t buy paper plates and plastic cups—use real plates and silverware. If you don’t have enough, ask your friends to bring some. Good for the environment, good for your wallet.
Work on that personal project…
You’ve been putting off for days, weeks, months. Staying at home all weekend to save money doesn’t mean you have to be lazy and watch bad movies on TV all day. Don’t waste your precious free time! Use this 3-day weekend to be productive, to get back to that painting you started many moons ago, or that novel you’ve been chipping away at. What about posting to your blog or finally enjoying your new hammock? Maybe you can finally sort through all that dusty stuff in the attic, storage closet or shed and find some juicy stuff to reuse or even sell!
Whatever you do this holiday weekend, remember that you never need to splurge to enjoy a vacation–the best things in life are free…
Suchi Rudra is an avid traveler and freelance writer from Texas who covers personal finance, travel, green building, tech, and entrepreneurship. Her work can be found in VICE, The Guardian, Vice, American Way, BBC Travel, Fodor’s, Transitions Abroad, PlanetEye.com, TravelStart.com, Expats.cz, The Writer and India Currents and many other publications.