Labor day is somehow already here. You have just a few days and a few dollars to get that cookout together. Now, how’s this going to work…? Fear not, you can still throw a great Labor Day cookout without overspending. Here’s how to get it done:
1. How Much Do You Have to Spend?
What’s left in the bank to manage this shindig anyway? Figure out how much you have to spend and stick to it. Otherwise, it will be much too easy to grab whatever you need at any price just to get it done.
2. Too Late to Ask for a Dish?
If you still have a few days, call some guests who you can rely on for help and ask them to bring a dish. Work out dishes that will provide a well-rounded variety so you have a fall back for any dishes you can’t get in your last minute dash. No one likes having deserts only. Unless your guests are 12-year-old boys.
3. Choose Simple Cookout Staples
A food warehouse or Wal-Mart will have the best prices on bulk cookout foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, buns and the fixin’s. Grab those monster sized jars with abandon. Skip the chips because they aren’t a good value compared to what you get from them. Go for corn on the cob, watermelon, grapes, strawberries and other in-season produce. Forego kids’ fancy drinks and sodas for good old-fashioned ice water and sun tea. If you want to get the kids a treat, get ice pops. They cost next to nothing and are easy to manage. While you’re at it, grab the most affordable paper plates and plastic forks you can find. Don’t forget cups for the drinks. Getting a little extra is wise. Many usually blow away in the wind.
4. Slow Cook Easy Meals
Slow-cooked dishes with simple ingredients will make your life much easier. BBQ pulled pork, German potato salad and three-bean salad are some excellent examples of slow-cooked meals perfect for any cookout. You don’t need an actual Crockpot to cook these either. Just use the oven at 200 – 250 degrees.
5. Don’t Worry about Decorations
People don’t come to your cookout for the décor. They show up for the people and the food. Just put out a sign on the mailbox or front door so guests can find the house. It’s all you really need.
The Main Takeaway
Hosting a frugal Labor Day cookout isn’t about expensive food, fancy lawn games, or saying you cooked everything yourself. Often, cheap food is favorable at an outdoor event. It’s fun! Lawn games can be as simple as flag football (use anything for flags). Ask for help from your friends. Many will enjoy bringing their favorite famous dish.
What’s important is that we celebrate Labor Day and relish (pun) the time we have with family and friends.