Frugal Living 

Nine Ways to Save Money on the Summer BBQ Party

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Dogs on the GrillSummer might be half over, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy a barbecue party, and really, what says summer more than gathering with friends and family and enjoying some food on the grill?  I look forward to it all winter long.

You might be reluctant to host a barbecue party if your money is tight or you don’t like to spend a lot of cash, but there are plenty of ways you can save. 

Consider the following:

  1. Go with the classic hamburger.  Sure, steak on the grill is nice, but feel free to stick with the classic burgers on the grill.  Per pound ground beef is cheaper than most other types of meat.  If you want to stretch your meat even further, consider serving mini sliders, little hamburgers that are about 1/3 the size of regular hamburgers.  They will be a nice novelty, and those with smaller appetites won’t eat as many.
  2. Serve pulled chicken or pork.  If you feed your guests chicken breasts, you meat won’t go very far.  Instead, shred the meat, mix it with bbq sauce, and let it simmer so the flavors mingle.  Serve it on a bun, and you will use much less meat per serving.  Plus, most people like pulled chicken or pork, and those dishes just feel like summer.
  3. Serve frugal sides.  You can make your party budget stretch further by serving frugal side dishes.  Good bets?  A large bowl of tortilla chips with a generous side of salsa will stretch to feed 7 to 10 people.  Another good idea is a quinoa salad with some sliced summer vegetables and avocado.  ( is a great place to go to find recipes.)
  4. Do it yourself.  Want to serve fresh vegetables and dip?  Don’t pay $15 to $20 to buy one already prepared at the store.  Instead, buy your own baby carrots, broccoli, celery and cauliflower and cut it yourself.  You’ll save at least 50% doing it this way.
  5. Take advantage of summer fruit.  Most people enjoy a fruit bowl.  Create one on the cheap by cutting up watermelon, pineapple and cantaloupe, which offer large servings for a fairly low price.  Make it a little more decorative by adding a small container of blueberries.  Mix all together.  This should serve 7 to 10 people.
  6. Use warehouse stores.  I have a Costco membership and love it.  I can buy a 3 pound bag of tortilla strips for $4.  That can feed A LOT of people.  Likewise, you can buy ground beef in bulk as well other fixings you will need for a party.
  7. Serve ethnic dishes.  Some ethnic dishes can feed a party crowd for a low cost.  Beans and rice, hummus, and fried rice come to mind.  You won’t spend a lot of money, but you will have a large quantity of tasty food.
  8. Consider a potluck.  If you really want to save money, just provide the main dish and ask your guests to bring a dish to pass.  Then, all party goers share part of the expense and there is a nice variety of dishes.
  9. Consider having a BYOB party.  If you don’t have enough money to provide all of the refreshments, have a bring-your-own party where the guest brings their own drinks with them to the party.  You could provide basic drinks such as iced tea and water, which are negligible in cost.

If you want to have a party, one of the best times to do so is during the summer.  Use some of these tips to have a nice party without breaking your wallet.

What are your favorite ways to cut costs when having a barbecue?

(Photo: thebusybrain)

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Nine Ways to Save Money on the Summer BBQ Party”

  1. Ray says:

    If you have lots of soda/beer, consider putting out a separate recycling bag next to your garbage bag, its not much, but you can recoup your bottle deposit.

  2. Barb says:

    I think people should BYOB and just you provide the mixers. Skinny Girl cocktails are popular to bring iny area. As a guest, you should always contact the host about what to bring. I agree that you should have recycling. Hot dogs r the cheapest to serve. Consider starting to grill those first and the burgers second as people will fill up on those first.

  3. I’m all about having potlucks! Sometimes I don’t even ask what people are bringing. It always seems to just work out!

  4. Nathaniel Copeland says:

    When I am hosting one of these BBQ parties, I usually go for pulled pork flavored with mangos. Its a pretty simple recipe which requires a huge chunk of pork, enough to feed a party of 10 or 12. Buying such a large quantity of course saves me money and moreover, I get a lot of trimmings out of it which goes into the week’s dinner and lunch menu.

    Other than that, I also make my own sauces and dips instead of buying them. Believe me, a couple of pounds of tamarind, jaggery and paprika costs a fifth of what I would pay for a litre sauce bottle (and I get more than a litre out of 2 pounds of tamarind).

  5. I think a pot luck is the best idea. Everyone understands thats it a lot to ask of one host to provide everything for a large group, and I know that my family and friends would have no problem bringing one of two dishes each. This isn’t just frugal, it allows for there to be an awesome mix of appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts and beverages.

  6. Shirley says:

    I agree with the potluck. When someone in our family and/or friends is having a get-together, the automatic response is, “What can I bring?” Often the reply is to bring whatever is on hand and that makes for a tasty variation that pleases everyone.

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