Summer 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. (Food.com is a great place to go to find recipes.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 )