Four Frugal Memorial Day Celebrations


Memorial Day is the official kickoff of summer, more revered in some circles than Christmas. As a young professional on the East Coast, I learned that there was absolutely no work done during Memorial or Labor Day weekends; these were sacrosanct, meant for mysterious managing director rituals involving expensive sunny vacation homes and actual time spent within 100 yards of their wife and children.

Memorial Day was also the one holiday when my friends -- young investment bankers and attorneys and consultants -- could schedule a party utterly without fear it would be pre-empted for a client crisis or sleepless weekend preparing for a merger. And so, we went all out: weekends in Charleston or the Hamptons, catered barbecues, road trips to New Orleans for jazz or Montreal for sightseeing or Chicago for baseball.

But times and careers have changed, and frugality is the new buzzword in my circles today. Memorial Day may be the kickoff of summer, but it's also a great time to cut costs and save money for whatever will be the expenses of summer -- camp for kids, family trips, in-season fruit for canning, the inevitable splurges on sunny-weather house projects and garden investments.

You can still celebrate and enjoy, though, without spending more than the $20 you have in your wallet. Here are four common Memorial Day celebrations that cost big -- and how to do it the WalletPop way.