10 money savings ideas for a summer BBQ

friends at picnic table

There’s no question about it: summer is the season for cookouts. Every get-together comes with a cost, though, and barbecues can get especially expensive if you’re not careful. There are a few ways that you can save a little cash, though, while still giving your guests a party to remember.

  1. Always plan ahead. Collect what you need for the party over time. This way, you can shop around for the best price and take advantage of sales and coupons when they present themselves.
  1. Meat doesn’t need to be expensive to be delicious. You don’t have to buy the most expensive cuts of steak to keep guests satisfied. In fact, burgers and hot dogs can suffice, especially if you give them the option of dressing them up with special toppings, like pickles, sauces, and other accoutrements. You can save even more money by buying veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs instead of real meat.
  1. Let your guests bring things. Your guests can pitch in by bringing non-grilled dishes for everyone to enjoy. Friends and family are usually happy to lend a hand by bringing sides and desserts — all you have to do is tell them what to bring!
  1. DIY your dressings, marinades, and rubs. There’s no need to pick up any premade things to help enhance the flavor of your meats, especially when there are so many recipes on the internet for delicious sauces and seasonings. Plus, when you make your own, you can adjust proportions to taste, giving you full control of the flavors you want.
  1. Save fuel when grilling. Using a full bag of charcoal probably isn’t necessary every time you grill. If you use a gas grill, use the time-tested barbecue mantra of “low and slow,” and turn your grill off immediately after everything has finished cooking.
  1. Grill extra, and save it for later. While you have the grill on, you may as well cook a little extra. Just make sure you don’t make too much — throwing leftovers out is just a waste of money.
  1. Don’t pay for ice. This is a no-brainer. If you have a freezer, you can make ice. This is where planning ahead comes in handy! Make enough ice for the party weeks in advance so you don’t have to pay a premium for something you can make at home.
  1. Get a good grill, and take care of it. Your grill doesn’t have to be fancy, just reliable and big enough for your needs. If you host big cookouts often, opt for one with a bigger surface. Once you’ve invested in one, get as much life as you can out of it by caring for it. Clean it with a grill brush, both before and after cooking, and it can last for years.
  1. Skip the fancy accessories. Besides tongs and a meat thermometer, you don’t really need any other extra accessories to grill successfully. Make sure these two things are sturdy and reliable, and focus on cooking up some delicious food!
  1. Make it a BYOB. Alcohol can really put a dent in your budget, especially if you’re buying for a crowd. Telling your guests to bring their own diffuses this cost, and ensures that everybody will drink something they enjoy.


15 Money Saving Tips for a Summer Barbecue [The Gardening Cook]

10 Money-Saving Ideas for a Summer Barbecue [Real Simple]