Five Tips to Keep Your Summer Barbecues Cheap and Easy

It's barbecue season. How are you saving money?

Cooking out can be cheaper than dining out if you budget and plan ahead.

Summer means that it’s time to entertain outdoors. For most, that means having a barbecue on the weekend, sometimes during a week night.

Hosting a backyard barbecue (or even one in a local park or on a public beach) is an easy way to entertain and to enjoy the weather, and it can be much more affordable than a group outing to a restaurant.

You don’t have to go all out on expenses to host a great barbecue, though. With some planning and a little help from your friends, you can host a fun and budget-friendly gathering this summer.

The Run Down

  • Make a budget.
  • Have a pot-luck barbecue.
  • Serve on reusable dishes, silverware, and cups.
  • Have the main beverage be water and guests can BYOB.
  • You don’t have spend a great deal of money or even any at all to decorate and make a theme.

Make a budget.

This seems like a simple idea, but it can save you a good deal of money when it comes to entertaining family and friends. Decide how many people will be coming over, the type of food and drink you want to serve, what sorts of activities kids can take part in, and, most importantly, all of the little items it’s easy to overlook. Things like plates, napkins, cups, ice, charcoal or propane for your barbeque, insect repellent, lighting for when the sun goes down and you are still having fun. Make a list, set your budget, and don’t overspend.

Have a pot-luck barbecue.

While you can handle the meat items (or grilled vegetables for those who don’t eat meat), ask your friends and family to bring their favorite item. Whether it’s salad, baked beans, hamburger buns, even dessert. This way, your’re not taking on all of the cost of feeding everyone, and there’s less stress involved in preparation and clean up.

Serve on reusable dishes.

This is a way to help eliminate waste and to save money on trash pick up, if you live in an area where you pay for those services. There are reusable plastic and even traditional dishware sets available that are affordable and can be used by your family during daily life. If you are having a large group over, then you might want to consider disposable plates, but using every day dishes can save you in the long term with the reuse you get from them. The same holds true for flatware and cups.

Serve water as your beverage.

Don’t be afraid to serve water to your guests. The money you save there can go into the food budget for your gathering. Also, it’s important to stay hydrated when outdoors in the summer, and water is the best beverage for the job. For those guests who would like more than water to drink, you can make the barbecue bring your own beverage (BYOB). That way there will be sodas or other drinks on hand aside from water. On an additional note, instead of purchasing bags of ice, use the ice maker in your freezer or refrigerator. That can also save you money.

You don’t have to decorate.

It might be tempting to have matching cloth napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths, candles, even additional outdoor seating, but you can decorate on a budget. If you’re looking to add additional light and to create a festive mood, use white or clear holiday lights. For extra seating, use blankets and and serve food picnic style. You can also find great bargains at dollar stores and party supply outlets if you want additional items for your party.

The Takeaway

You don’t have to go into metaphorical or literal debt to entertain friends and family this summer. There’s a saying which tells that, “Times are tight and the wallet is thin.” You can still enjoy your life without feeling like you need to sacrifice. It takes planning and making informed choices. AmOne understands this. Whether it’s a summer barbecue in the backyard or planning for retirement, we know about saving money and managing it. If you have questions, we can help. Our knowledgeable associates are ready answer your questions on money management, financial planning, debt consolidation, credit repair, and more. AmOne offers solutions; your call to us is free and we won’t try to sell you anything. Find out how to reach us and learn more about how AmOne can help you today.