Hosting a barbecue can be a fun summer activity. Many people look forward to attending summer barbecues for the food, company, and atmosphere. However, sometimes hosting a barbecue can become expensive, especially when you’re shouldering most of the costs by yourself. Here are a few ways to try and save money during barbecue season:
Ask Friends To Contribute
If you’re inviting a lot of friends or family members to your barbecue, why not ask them to contribute something to the meal? Someone can bring a salad, someone else can bring a dessert, and another person can bring drinks. Making your barbecue into a potluck is an easy way to get everyone involved in the festivities and relieves some of the financial burden from your shoulders. Suggested reading: Ten Reasons to Have Frugal Friends
Don’t Use Paper Plates
Another great way to save some money is by using plastic or ceramic dishes instead of paper plates. While paper plates can be cheap, they’re also a waste of money. Not only do you discard them after using them, but many people often take a new plate each time they go up for another helping. If you’re worried about breaking your good dishes, many stores sell festive, inexpensive plastic barbecue or picnic dishes. These are easy to wash and reuse.
Prepare Homemade Drinks
Instead of spending a lot of money on sodas or juices, why not make your own drinks? Iced tea, lemonade, and punch is fairly simple to make and will cost you only a fraction of the price you would have paid for something premade in the grocery store.
Buy Inexpensive Cuts of Meat
Many people who host barbecues grab the first package of meat they see in the supermarket. But many grocery stores like to place expensive prime cuts up front on their counters or displays. Instead of shelling out for the most expensive cuts of meat, buy some inexpensive pieces. There are plenty of inexpensive cuts of meat to go around and chances are that many people won’t even be able to taste the difference.
Make Enough for Leftovers
One of the best things about hosting a barbecue is that you get all the leftovers to yourself. Do you have a special potato salad that you only make each year for the annual barbecue? Maybe you have half a dozen hamburgers left over at the end of the day. Instead of tossing all the extra food into the trash, keep it in the fridge for the rest of the week. This is an easy way to save the money you spent and, not to mention, it means you won’t have to worry about lunch or dinner for the rest of the week. After all, financially secure people eat leftovers.
Avoid BBQ Kits
Another way to save money is to avoid buying BBQ kits. There are plenty of kits out there for your grill or your food, but many of these kits are a waste of money. They provide expensive rubs or spices you could make at home or they contain tools and gadgets that you don’t really need.
Shut Off the Grill When It’s Not In Use
A lot of people let their grill run for longer than it needs to during a barbecue. You might keep it on only because you worry that you’ll need to cook more food for someone. But instead of wasting that propane or charcoal, power down the grill so you don’t waste your resources. Besides, if you do need to cook more food, there’s no harm in having to start the grill up all over again.
Reuse Your Charcoal
If you still have a charcoal grill, one of the best ways to save money is to reuse your charcoal. Instead of tossing the half-used lumps of charcoal from your last grilling adventure, reuse the charcoal until it’s completely gone.
Make Your Own Rubs and Sauces
Grocery stores love trying to market their premium rubs and sauces when barbecue season rolls around. Many of these rubs and sauces are made from items that most people can find in their own kitchens. Instead of wasting $5 on a bottle of sauce, try making your own sauces or rubs for your meat or salads. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to make, search for recipes online. There are more than enough of them that you’ll probably be able to find something you like.
Avoid Prepared Foods
Most importantly, you should avoid prepared foods. Premade hamburger patties are drastically more expensive than ground beef, for example. And the potato salad in the deli is probably three times more expensive than if you had made it from scratch. While making food from scratch might take more time, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Besides, prepared and prepackaged foods may taste great, but there’s nothing like the taste of homemade barbecue food.