Summer is barbecue season and everyone wants to break out the grill to share their skills with friends and family. However, hosting a barbecue can be expensive if you don't know the right tips and tricks that the frugal living pros use. To help give you a better idea of how you can host a great barbecue without breaking the bank, here is what you need to keep in mind.
1. Keep it Casual
The barbecue business is booming and this trend is only continuing to grow year-round, according to a survey by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association. However, just because the barbecue business is heating up doesn't mean you have to throw a lot of money into the fire. People are often happiest with a simple burger and hot dogs, and there's no need to splurge on fancy, expensive cuts of meat when hosting a barbecue in your backyard. Keep it simple and let your grill skills do the work, not your wallet.
2. Supplement With Sides
Instead of making meat the main staple, consider supplementing less meat with a wider variety of less expensive sides and snacks. Chips and dip are great for pre-dinner munching, and there are many side dishes that you can make yourself to keep costs low. Homemade salsa, pasta salads, potato salads, coleslaw, and bean dip are all low-cost options that can give your guests something else to fill up on, aside from more expensive meat options.
3. Consider a Potluck
Another great way to keep costs low is to spread them out so that everyone contributes. Consider having a potluck-style barbeque that encourages guests to bring a special dish of their own for everyone to sample. This can help take the financial burden off of you, while still ensuring that your guests have plenty to eat.
4. Shop At Discount Stores and Check Sales
Stores like Costco or Sam's club can offer great deals on all of the barbecue essentials. However, these only work if you currently have a membership. If you don't, stores like Aldi should be considered so that you can stock up on food without breaking the bank. You can also consider basing your menu around sales that are currently going on at other stores near you. While this may require some diligence, many stores have great weekly deals that frugal living barbecuers can take advantage of.
5. Keep Guests Occupied with Activities
Barbecues are a great opportunity to get everyone engaged in various activities. Now, this doesn't mean running out and investing in a pool -- something that's not only expensive but can only offer a 7% increase on a home's value -- but even something as simple as a cheap lawn sprinkler can give the kids (or adults) a great way to stay cool and have fun. Similarly, if you have yard space and spare golf clubs, you can set up a make-shift driving range for guests who love golf. Americans regularly spend over $600 million every year on golf balls, which is impressive given most packs only cost around $15.
If you don't have the lawn space for these options, you may want to ask guests if they have any activities that they could bring. Chances are at least one owns a set of bean bag toss boards.
Great Barbecues On a Budget
Hosting a barbecue doesn't have to break the bank, and there are numerous ways to help you save money without throwing a lame party. Consider these frugal living ideas, and feel free to mix and match them to create the best budget barbecue combination for you.