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How to throw a great summer party on a budget

Hooray for summer!

There are so many reasons to throw a party in July - the nice weather, everyone's being off work, the beckoning calls of your grill - but you don't want to break the bank celebrating the Spirit of '76.

»RELATED: 5 things to know about Georgia's new fireworks law

Luckily, a super-fun gathering can be affordable. Whether it’s for the Fourth of July holiday or just to a weekend summer soiree, there are plenty of great reasons to celebrate in July.

Here are five tips for a memorable, low-cost bash from frugal fun experts:

Savor one special adults-only drink

Money Crashers blogger Jacqueline Curtis noted that alcohol can be a party budget buster, especially if your home bar isn't fully stocked and you'll need to buy a variety of alcohol. "Instead of buying your supplies from the liquor store, go the chic route and pick a signature drink for the night," she advised. "That way, you only have to purchase one or two types of alcohol, and you can specifically base your drink around a cheaper wine spritzer over pricier liquor."

A fitting choice for a Fourth of July holiday theme is Tablespoon's Blue Kamikaze Shots with a fireworks effect: Mix one part vodka, one part blue curacao (or triple sec with a drop of blue food coloring) and one part lime juice and strain into a shot glass over ice. Rim the glasses with Pop Rocks.

Go with white paper products

Kiplinger's online editor Cameron Huddleston recommended against buying special picnic supplies just for this one party. "Yes, patriotic plates and napkins might look festive, but you'll pay a premium for red and blue," she explained. "Save money by sticking to white paper and plastic goods, which can be bought in bulk." Another advantage: Any leftovers can be used for your next outdoor bash, even if that's not until Halloween. 

Forget about party-sponsored fireworks

Kiplinger also advised against footing the bill for fireworks for your gathering. Instead, time your party to coincide with fireworks displays in your area. If possible, guests can watch from your yard. If not, wrap up the festivities by heading out to see the city's offerings.

Thursday’s Slow Cooker Pork is an easy meal for the kids. Contributed by Time Inc. Books/Time Inc. Food Studios (Seven-Day Menu Planner)

Eat cheap

Instead of firing up the grill to cook pricey ribs and burgers, bring out the slow cooker - or several of them - recommended the Eating on a Dime blog. For the main dish, consider Dr. Pepper BBQ chicken. It tastes great, but uses frozen chicken, which tends to be available cheap from the club store (or you may already have some in the freezer). 

Play like the kids with a water blob

Backyard fun is fitting for the summer, and old-fashioned options like croquet and flashlight tag cost nothing. To amp up the outdoor fun without breaking the bank, consider creating a water blob. This easy-to-make play surface may be intended for kids, but adult partygoers will definitely enjoy the opportunity to chill out and goof off. Bobby Byrd of the PBS Parents blog provides instructions and notes that "This water blob was amazing amounts of fun. I lay on it; the kids jumped on it, slid across it and spent the entire day doing all sorts of crazy acrobatics. We loved it so much that I almost can't wait to do another one."

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