Labor Day, that fantastic little preamble to the holiday season that kicks into gear a couple months later, is one of the great simple pleasures in American life. You get a three day weekend, with most businesses closed or limited in operation, and it lands during a time of year where the weather is usually just about perfect throughout the country.
As far as holidays go, it's a bit of a blank slate. Because of that, it's probably tempting to spend that time going on a streaming TV binge (or reading a book in a single sitting, if that's more your speed). But why settle for less? Even on a tight budget, you can jump on the opportunities of the extended weekend and create lasting memories beyond "that time I watched an entire season of television in one go"!
Here are six great ways to have an amazing Labor Day weekend on a budget:
Go on a local cycling trip.
The weather is mild without being overbearingly crisp for much of the country during Labor Day weekend. Look up bike trails within your general region, pack a lunch, bring some water, and spend that cool day on the back of a bicycle. If you don't already own one, look into local shops and see if rentals are available. Often, you can borrow a bike for a day for a relatively low fee.
For warmer regions, hit up the neighborhood pool.
It's time to expand your social circle a bit and take advantage of your local amenities. For those who live in warmer areas of the country, their local pools will still be open. And it's likely you've neglected to use this wonderful -- and low to no cost! -- amenity. It's an opportunity to spend time with your significant other, get to know your neighbors, and enjoy an eventful day without your pocketbook taking a hit.
Check your local newspaper for community events.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally packed with lots locally-oriented events, from fireworks displays to street fairs. While food at events like this is most likely on the expensive side, entry is generally cheap or free. If you're not up to spend several times the amount you normally would on a simple hot dog, packing a lunch solves the problem! A weekend indoors simply can't compare to the surprises you'll inevitably find if you explore your town or city on an active weekend like Labor Day.
Plan a hotel weekend locally.
There's a funny thing about going on vacation: a good chunk of your time is spent either in transit, or at the hotel. Yet much of that experience still creates all kinds of good memories, simply because you're out of your usual routine. You can achieve a similar vibe simply by spending your weekend with your family and/or significant other at a reasonably-priced local hotel, too! Enjoy the pool, check out the bar, dive into the morning breakfast, do all the fun things that make up a bulk of your vacation experience but without the travel expenses to go with it.
Three words: Minor League Baseball!
For baseball fans: you already know. For non-fans: we're serious, this is a fantastic way to spend a day! Tickets are exponentially cheaper than top-level sports, food is much more reasonably priced, and even if you don't know the nitty-gritty of the sport it's hard not to get into the infectious energy of watching a game live. Minor league parks are particularly focused on being family-friendly, too, so there are lots of engaging side events throughout the game to make sure everybody attending has a great time. Plus, when any of the players get called up to the majors, you can tell your friends "I saw them before they made it"!
Stay home and grill out!
Most of these tips are about changing up the routine by leaving your house. But there's nothing wrong with being a homebody if you do it in style! Labor Day is a classic grilling weekend, and this tried-and-true way to spend the day is cheap -- burgers and hot dogs don't break the bank -- and if you invite friends and family, it'll be an event to remember. If you haven't hosted this kind of event yourself yet, this is the year to do it. It's a rewarding experience that absolutely beats three days in front of the TV.
You can create lasting memories, make new social connections, and simply have a really great Labor Day weekend. And you can make it happen without spending much, or any, money at all.