budget friendly ways to throw a bbq

 

One of the best aspects of summer is spending time outdoors and enjoying fun activities with family and friends. From hitting the pool to spending the day at a theme park, summer is a time to recoup from the hectic day-to-day life of the rest of the year and soak up some well-deserved TLC.

The most popular activity for summer is the BBQ. Not only are BBQs a super easy way to spend time with family and catch up with your friends, but you can enjoy some absolutely amazing food as well. Whether you’re firing up the grill to throw on some burgers or going upscale with some steaks and fish, the enjoyment of sharing a good meal with the ones you love is always the same.

However, in today’s day in age where the economy is still in recovery and funds are tighter than ever, affording to throw a BBQ can sometimes be a challenge in itself. For example, four 8 oz. steaks could cost you over $25 and that’s not even counting the sides you’ll want and drinks! Talk about a lame BBQ if you only have some meat to feed you and your dog.

No A1? No thanks!

Thankfully, there are ways you can save money and still throw a fabulous BBQ that will have your neighbors wishing they were your friends. From shopping only when items are on sale to inviting friends and family to bring their own dish as a potluck, throwing a BBQ shouldn’t put too much stress on your wallet.

We thought it would be insightful to put together an extensive list on ways you can save money and throw a BBQ of a lifetime. Not only are these ideas major cash savers, but they also help alleviate the stress of putting on a BBQ as well.

So what are you waiting for? Check out these 15 budget-friendly ideas and light up that grill!

15. Don’t Blow Your Budget on Meat

sassygirlz.com

sassygirlz.com

When it comes to throwing a BBQ it can be very tempting to go for the best cuts of meat that money can buy. However, this could also eat up a huge percentage of your budget. We suggest going for the ground beef instead of the steak and settling for the hot dogs over high-profile sausages. The point of coming together for a BBQ is to spend time with your family and friends, the food is just one of the focal points.

14. Elevate Flavor

winefolly.com

winefolly.com

Tons of flavor can go along way. While looking over BBQ tips from some of the hottest Food Network stars, they all agree that utilizing a wide array of spices can help you keep your portions smaller, but pack a whole lot of flavor. Remember, this is a BBQ not a spread for the President of the United States. Sometimes less is more if you have the right flavor profiles.

13. Always Make Extra

recipehubs.com

recipehubs.com

While we know we just suggested less is more, that was simply in terms of saving money on meats and side dishes. However, you can also save money by making extra. Why? Leftovers. It’s that simple. If you can buy your burgers and hot dogs in bulk wholesale, not only could you plan out your BBQ, but meals for the month as well. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll get a jumpstart on meal prepping as well.

12. DIY Rubs & Sauces

theyummylife.com

theyummylife.com

Why spend $5 on a bottle of BBQ sauce when you can make your own for so much less? One amazing way to spend less money when planning a BBQ is by making your own sauces. There are a plethora of online tutorials detailing how to make your own barbecue to steak sauce and most of the time they are way more flavorful. Therefore, if you are hoping to keep some money in your wallet this summer, do it yourself! (It’s also less calories!)

11. Watch Fuel Consumption

weber.com

weber.com

One common way you can waste money by having a BBQ or family luncheon is by wasting your fuel for your grill. Many people end up not knowing how to calibrate the valves and use way more gas than they should. And don’t get us started on lighter fluid! You’re grilling steaks men, not setting up a bonfire. Pay attention to directions and measurements or you may end up refilling your tanks more often than you should be which is a huge waste of money.

10. Throw a Potluck

law.duke.edu

law.duke.edu

Rather than make all of the food yourself (which can get quite costly), one great way to save money and include your family, as well as friends, is by throwing a potluck. I mean who doesn’t want to try Aunt Nellie’s famous mustard potato salad? Not only does a potluck relieve you of the financial burden, but it creates a sense of community as people come together to share great food and company. Plus, you get to try out a variety of family recipes. Are your stomachs growling yet?

9. Skip the Alcohol

southernkrazed.com

southernkrazed.com

Look, who doesn’t love a cocktail on a hot summer day? Not only do they pair well with burgers on the grill, but they can make ANY BBQ a lively affair. Unfortunately, your wallet won’t feel so excited after it’s all said and done. Therefore, if you want to throw a fun BBQ on a budget, we suggest skipping the alcohol and replacing it with Monopoly! OR if you must have alcohol, tell everyone to BYOB!

8. Get to Know Your Local Butcher

bonappetit.com

bonappetit.com

If you have a local butcher, we suggest it’s time to get cozy with them. Whether it’s offering a nice tip or some tickets to the big game, your butcher can be your greatest ally when it comes to saving money and throwing a killer summer BBQ. Not only can they point you to the cheapest cuts of beef that still are quality, but they can also throw in great discounts as well. Therefore, if you want to pocket some extra cash, it’s time to rub elbows with the guy who cuts your beef.

7. Quality Grills Are Essential

technobuffalo.com

technobuffalo.com

One of the best ways to save money for a BBQ is by investing in a quality grill. If you don’t do BBQs often, then this may not be a budget saver for you, however if you’re known for your killer burgers and mouth-watering steaks, then it’s time to shell out the cash for big savings later. Not only are higher quality grills more fuel efficient, which saves you money when it comes to refilling your gas tank, but they also help heat your meat evenly and cut down on waste from undercooked or overcooked meat. I mean, who wants to eat a burger that looks like a hockey puck? We suggest going for the Weber Genesis, which combines quality with affordability.

6. Less is More

cdc.gov

cdc.gov

While it can be tempting to throw a HUGE party that involves your family, friends, neighbors and their third cousin twice removed, if you want to save money, it’s best to stick “less is more.” Sometimes an intimate gathering of five or six people can be more fun and rewarding than fighting through a throng of hungry neighbors desperate to get the last scoop of Grandma Suzie’s famous baked beans. You can also ask your small group of friends to bring a favorite dish in order to cut down on the expenses.

5. Wait Until AFTER the Summer Holidays

cbsnews.com

cbsnews.com

Now, we understand that the whole point of this was to help you throw a fantastic summer BBQ on a budget, however here us out. We aren’t saying to wait until after summer is over, simply wait until both Memorial Day the Fourth of July have passed. Not only will you be able to score great deals on summer-themed cutlery and decorations, but you will be able to find awesome deals on all of the BBQ essentials, from condiments to great cuts of meat!

4. Know the Meats Your Grilling

seriouseats.com

seriouseats.com

Some people think grilling isn’t all that hard and just throw on the burgers and the hot dogs, calling it a day. However, not all meats cook the same and not all require the same heat. Therefore, expect to burn some things before you call yourself a Food Network star! If you want to cut down on expensive “oops” moments, do some research on the meats your grilling. Once you know the best ways to grill fish, chicken and beef, you can save money and provide your guests with delicious food that won’t send them running for the trash can.

3. Fruits Make Wonderful Serving Dishes

allwomenstalk.com

allwomenstalk.com

One aspect of throwing a BBQ that many people don’t think about is the cost of serving dishes and utensils. These things aren’t free and even going to the Dollar Tree can end up expensive if you are buying all disposable dishes from scratch. However, we have a super cute and creative solution–fruit! Yes, you heard that right, you can actually use the fruit rinds as bowls. From serving water melon in the fruit itself to cantaloupe, it’s a super creative way to showcase your delicious side dishes without having to spend additional funds. And look how pretty it ends up!

2. Coupons Are a BBQ’s BEST Friend

urbanbaptistchurch.org

urbanbaptistchurch.org

It’s time to get you scissors and start clipping! Coupons are a total no-brainer when it comes to saving money for a BBQ and even the smallest savings all add up. Your best bet is to join a grocery store that offers rewards and cash back discounts. Then you can stack your coupons with your rewards and be ready to be crowned the coupon king! Imagine throwing an amazing BBQ that you could have spent hundreds on, but it only cost you $20? Too good to be true? Not with coupons!

1. Games Over Food

amoonjump4u.com

amoonjump4u.com

A BBQ without food? Blasphemy you say! However, here us out. We aren’t saying to ditch all of the iconic food staples that define the summer BBQ, but why not shake things up a bit by focusing on games that promote relationship building and activities? From potato sack races to a fun-filled game of twister, there are so many different ways you can enjoy time outdoors with family and friends that are not only cheap but take the focus away from stuffing your faces. And if you need snacks? Why not do sliders instead of full burgers? Snack foods can be just as fulfilling and stretch longer without emptying your bank account. Sounds like a win/win to us!