A backyard barbecue can be an ideal way of spending time outdoors while spending time with friends, family and neighbors. However, hosting the event can easily cost hundreds of dollars. However, it is possible to have a great event without having to raid your bank account if you follow a few simple steps.
If you are planning to have a barbecue in the near future, start making arrangements now. Plan a menu with all of the entrees, sides and condiments that you want to include for your barbecue. Check the local grocery store ads and stock up on items that are a good deal. Wait for the other items to go on sale the next week. Be sure you also purchase the Sunday newspaper and cut out all of the coupons that you may be able to use for your barbecue. You can also shop at a warehouse club in order to buy items in bulk at a discount, including meat, hamburger buns, side items, drinks, paper plates, paper cups and paper napkins.
Work with Items You Have on Hand
If you are planning a barbecue and you do not have much time, try to use items that you already have on hand. For example, if you have extra chicken and pasta, barbecue the chicken and make a pasta salad. You can prepare side items with extra supplies you have in your pantry and refrigerator, such as fruit and veggie trays, mini sandwiches and party meatballs. Save even more money by using the same ingredients on multiple dishes.
Buy Cheaper Meats
Meat is one of the most significant expenses of a barbecue. Rather than having expensive steaks, grill more affordable meat options. One cheaper alternative is to grill hamburgers. You can also grill pork chops or ribs. Chicken is much more affordable than red meat options. Brisket, chicken wings and fish are a few other options. If you are determined to cook steaks, try kabobs so that you can blend in cheaper ingredients with the more expensive cut of beef.
Have a Kids’ Menu
If your barbecue will include several children as guests, prepare certain foods that kids are likely to enjoy. These foods also tend to be cheaper than adult entrees. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and corn dogs are all foods that many kids love and are cheap.
Fill Up on Sides
Since meat is the most expensive part of the meal, try to reduce the amount of meat that you and your guests will eat by having a variety of available sides. Cook barbecued corn, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, garden salad, French fries, baked beans and chips. Add plenty of bread, which tends to be cheap. Have guests make their own sandwiches out of the barbecued meats or use tortillas for guests to make their own wraps.
Make Your Own Sauce
You probably have most of the ingredients on hand to make your own barbecue sauce, chip dip, veggie dip, fruit dip and marinades. Many of these dips require such staples as ketchup, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, pickle, onion, peanut butter and tomatoes.
Pick a Theme
If you want to gear the barbecue toward a particular theme in order to save money, pick a theme. A Hawaiian theme can consist of a fish and seafood grill or an Italian theme can help the guests prepare for multiple Italian-inspired dishes with a couple of grilled components.
Make It a Potluck
Mitigate the expenses of your backyard barbecue by asking each guest to bring a dish. If everyone participated, you may only have to supply the meat while your guests bring other items that can be enjoyed by the entire group. For guests who are confident in their cooking ability, ask that they bring such items as paper plates, paper cups, silverware, charcoal, skewers, sodas, ice or a bakery prepared dessert.
Pick Affordable Drinks
Avoid alcoholic drinks if possible since they are often expensive. Opt for more affordable options that can be made in large quantities at a small cost. Some options are tea, punch, a kids’ prepared drink, sodas, lemonade and water.
Having your own barbecue can help you kick off the social season at an affordable price.